Film review: La La Land

la la land

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, a film came out called La La Land, and people seem to be loving it.

Andrew Davies reviews…

The new musical, directed by Damien Chazelle and starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, has already run riot in the box office and dominated the nominations for the major award ceremonies. The film has grossed over 220 million dollars, winning 7 Golden Globes and has been nominated for 11 Baftas, 12 Critics Choice awards and 14 Oscars. Not too bad, eh?

Naturally, as soon as I heard all the fuss, I had to see whether it lived up to the hype. I’m happy to report that it did.

I’m sure that La La Land will set a new precedent among the world of musicals. What Chazelle has captured in this film is the essence of the golden age of musicals, taking you on a journey back to the days of Singing in the Rain. The story revolves around the characters Sebastian and Mia, portrayed by Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Sebastian, a skillful and passionate jazz pianist has a dream of opening a jazz club, in turn saving the genre from disappearing for good. On the flipside, Mia is an aspiring actress, spending her days rushing to auditions and then back to working in a coffee shop at the Warner Bros studios complex. Both of them, not getting any further in their careers, need their big break.

Said break comes in the form of each other.

You’ll fall in love with the characters as easily as they fall in love with each other.

The two have to decide what is more important to them; chasing their dreams or each other, with surprising consequences along the way. The love induced storyline is supported tremendously by Chazelle’s writing, and will whip you away into a fantasy world you can’t help but want to be a part of. The romantic power of the storyline slowly creeps up on you, following a series of high-powered, all singing and dancing numbers.

Gosling and Stone make for the perfect pairing. Having worked as an onscreen couple in Crazy, Stupid, Love previously, their chemistry was clear to see. The actors bounce off each other and are visibly in tune with how the other works, resulting in a virtually unfaltering performance from both. Naturally, you’ll fall in love with the characters as easily as they fall in love with each other.

However, it’s not just the cast that makes the film so great. The soundtrack is a stunning repertoire of jazz infused with bits of pop for good measure. John Legend even makes an appearance. If you weren’t fussed by jazz beforehand, you will be afterwards. Despite having less singing per song than your conventional musical, it is nonetheless easy to get lost in the captivating and emotional compositions by Justin Hurwitz.

Above all, the film ignites a spark inside those who watch it. With the masterful direction of Chazelle, audiences are taken on a musical journey; one that will make you laugh, cry and just about everything in between.

If you haven’t already watched it, check out the trailer below…