Film Review – La La Land (2016)

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Title – La La Land (2016)

Director – Damian Chazelle (Whiplash)

Cast – Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, Rosemarie DeWitt, J.K Simmons

Plot – Aspiring actress Mia (Stone) and down on his luck jazz musician Sebastian (Gosling) find each other and fall in love in the sundrenched surrounds of L.A, leading to a romance that will shape the outcomes of the two dreamers futures.

“Here’s to the ones who dream, foolish as they may seem”

Review by Eddie on 09/12/2016

Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, I present to you what very well could (and should) be this years Best Picture winner; La La Land.

From the films incredibly choreographed opening scene, La La Land becomes an eye catching, toe-tapping and most importantly of all, joyous movie going experience and the film transforms a story that at its core is rather generic into something else entirely, that will very likely place La La Land into the top echelon of cinematic musicals, as well as a classic of our time.

Quite the feat then for third time feature film director Damian Chazelle.

Announcing himself to the film world with his sweat-inducing drummer thriller Whiplash in 2014, La La Land is Chazelle stamping himself into the ranks of the great directors working in the industry today.

The jazz loving artist is a talent worth all the praise he receives, as every thread of Chazelle’s love letter to Hollywood, jazz, romance and perhaps most importantly of all, dreaming, is a pure piece of cinematic ecstasy.

Alongside DOP Linus Sandgren (whose work here may well lead to a hefty individual awards haul this season), his composer Justin Hurwitz and genuinely the whole team behind this production, Chazelle has crafted up that rare movie beast, a unique tapestry of brilliance that practically bounces along frame to frame and is matched majestically by its two leads, who in turn give us a duo of characters we are unlikely to forget anytime soon.

Tasked with not only reigniting the chemistry they shared in the likeable 2011 romantic comedy Crazy Stupid Love and the 2013 Gangster Squad but pulling off the unenviable task of singing and dancing their way into the moviegoers hearts, Emma Stone as the big dreaming wannabe actress Mia and Ryan Gosling as jazz loving hard-done-by musician Sebastian make for a loveable on screen duo whose relationship together is all at once alluring, believable and at times heartbreaking.

The bond between these two starry-eyed lovers is one you can’t help but be swept up by as their individual plights and plans take shape, so do our affections towards them as Mia and Sebastian    become one of the modern era’s most engaging on screen couples.

The two actors are, safe to say, equally deserving of awards, yet as good as Gosling is in a role he seemed tailor made to play, this is in many ways Stone’s true star making turn that will be nigh on impossible for any of her naysayers to deny. She can no longer just be the loveable redhead from Easy A or Zombieland or the lucky to be there Oscar nominee from Birdman.

In another year where Natalie Portman didnt too give what appears to be the performance of her career, the Best Actess would’ve been Stone’s for the taking (Stone’s rendition of the film’s key song Audition is a true showstopper and proof enough of this) but regardless of the results of such statue giving, Stone’s layered turn here is one for the ages.

There’s a lot more to be said about this spellbinding romance that just so happens to express itself through its songs and music as well as its very setting but at the end of the day for anyone that calls themselves a movie lover, La La Land is a brilliantly conceived big screen experience unlike anything we’ve seen before and a true big screen must-see.

In a year of largely forgettable and cookie cutter experiences, Chazelle’s love letter to film, the city of lights and following your dreams should be something that’s savoured and enjoyed not only in the coming months, but for years yet to come.

5 observatory waltzes out of 5

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33 responses to “Film Review – La La Land (2016)

  1. A brilliant film from a young filmmaker rich with amazing cinematography, production design, direction and acting to boot. It is one of those films that leaves you asking the question: “Are the dreams I want in life the drams that will really make me happy.” Grade “A”

  2. I loved Whiplash. It was a rough film to watch but the performances were intense. This movie seems like a heartbreaker. Stone and Gosling have amazing chemistry together. Of course, singing and dancing should be nothing new to Gosling having cut his teeth in the Mouseketeers as a lad. Your rating and review is worth a look see from me!

  3. Wow. Best Picture? You could be right, Oscar does love a bit of Hollywood self-love. I’d prefer Arrival to be rewarded but I’m very curious to see this one.

  4. Just saw the trailer for this movie (which gave nothing of what it was about away) and was going to skip it, but after your review I feel like I have to check it out!

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  6. Checked it out few days ago and it was amazing! Totallty deserves all of its 7 Globes. Hoping that with BAFTA and Oskar will be absolutely the same thing.

    P. S. By the way, cool review, guys!

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  8. Great review guys. Its interesting to read WHY people respond the way they do to this film. Its not original and the characters of Mia and Sebastian are not developed in great depth because they are avatars for generations of dreamers. But their synergy is palpable, the music uplifting and the nostalgia-tripping works brillaintly for today’s generation who never knew the classic Hollywood musical..

    • Yeh I really loved the film and felt it told a rather simple and yep not original story in a really nicely done original way that also as you said took us on a nostalgia trip with its throwbacks the golden age of musicals. A worthy best picture winner in my mind.
      E

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  10. I absolutely ADORED this film. It was shockingly (I went in with no expectations) and by far my favorite film of 2016. I’m curious though – why do you think this film deserves best picture? In fact in your Oscar Predictions this year you even said that it’s a pretty safe bet that it’ll win. Can you tell me why and what makes it have a better chance than the other nominees? Not that I disagree or anything because I actually completely agree, I’m just curious (: Great review!!!

    • Hi Allan I really think it ticks all the boxes of being a safe bet for Academy members. Its stunningly filmed. Well acted but most importantly its set around Hollywood and harkens back to the golden age of Hollywood films.
      Most importantly though it’s just a terrific film telling a story we’ve aeen before in a brilliantly realised way.
      E

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