La La Land Review
La La Land Review
La La Land tells the story of two struggling creatives, Mia and Sebastien who are trying to become successful in their own right in Los Angeles. Directed by Damien Chazelle (Whiplash), the musical comedy/drama parodies the era of film it aims to evoke while still feeling like a breath of fresh of air. There’s a lot to like about La La Land including a talented cast, entertaining music and songs plus an interesting message about making it big in the city of Los Angeles and as a creative person generally.
The most striking element of La La Land is the artistry on show in terms of film making. The cinematography is truly impressive with sweeping shots for the musical numbers alongside the brilliantly sunny backdrop of Los Angeles as a setting. This attention to detail and focus gives the movie a dreamlike quality which suits the themes of the film well. Director and writer Chazelle also captures the atmosphere and nature of Los Angeles and the sometimes ludicrous Hollywood clique to great effect.
The film wouldn’t be quite as successful if its cast wasn’t up to the job but fortunately that isn’t the case. The main leads, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling seem perfect for the roles and the two have a good chemistry on-screen having previously starred in Crazy, Stupid, Love together in 2011. While their singing and musical performances are very good, its their likeability and charm that draws the audience towards them. Despite the fact that Mia and Sebastien are trying to ‘make it’ in Los Angeles and reach a certain level of fame, the characters feel relatable and ultimately most people can identify with trying your hardest to get somewhere career wise only to constantly fall short. Also, J.K Simmons has a couple of pretty humorous moments in the film as Sebastien’s employer.
La La Land operates on many different levels by simultaneously parodying the old way of making films while also highlighting their shortcomings. Little touches such as the opening title sequence and a hazy re-imagining of events towards the end of the film are wonderfully done and illustrates the fact that this is a very self-aware film. La La Land also just works as a musical with catchy songs and dance numbers peppered throughout the film, it’s the main theme and song City of Stars that really steals the show though, perfectly encapsulating Los Angeles and stardom in general.
The only negative in regards to La La Land is that the film seems pretty straightforward and you assume you know where the story is going since it evokes such a nostalgic, romantic Hollywood film that most can recall the structure of. The film does a nice job of swerving out of that structure but unfortunately the pacing is a little off and the middle of the film doesn’t quite get it right.
All that being said, La La Land certainly deserves all the critical and award acclaim it’s receiving at this moment in time and the film is clever; in plot, structure and in its dreamlike story. Thanks to talented and assured people behind and in front of camera, La La Land is a smart observation on making it in Tinseltown but also works as an entertaining musical.
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Have you seen La La Land? What did you make of the Oscar-nominated film?