Written and directed by Academy Award® nominee Damien Chazelle, LA LA LAND tells the story of Mia [Emma Stone], an aspiring actress, and Sebastian [Ryan Gosling], a dedicated jazz musician, who are struggling to make ends meet in a city known for crushing hopes and breaking hearts. Set in modern day Los Angeles, this original musical about everyday life explores the joy and pain of pursuing your dreams.
What We Thought:
Musicals aren’t exactly my cup of tea. Breaking out into song and dance isn’t normally something that I enjoy. But I loved Director Damien Chazelle’s film Whiplash and I usually enjoy Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone’s work as well. So I went and saw La La Land not sure what to expect.
I walked out thinking it was the best directed film of 2016 and thoroughly enjoyed the movie. It’s one of my top five films of the year. Even though it is 100% a musical, it has such an old Hollywood vibe to it that makes it break through the unoriginal films we’re used to today with all the nonstop remakes and sequels. It’s nothing like you’ve seen in a long time.
From the opening sequence of daily LA traffic turning into amazing tracking shots of people dancing on cars and singing on the highway, the camera movement in the movie floored me. I was thoroughly amazed at how well the camera followed along with the characters helping to set the tone of the entire film. There’s times the movement rivals that of Birdman and The Revenant. When it hits Blu-ray, I’ll be analyzing takes to see where Chazelle made cuts and how he shot certain scenes with boom cranes and steadi-cams. I will definitely be picking it apart and learning all his tricks hopefully.
Not only did the film wow me in its technical aspect, I also related to it in many personal ways. Besides this gig, I’m also an actor. Emma Stone plays a struggling actress and her scenes at auditions are spot on. If you’ve never auditioned for a project, Stone gives a brutally honest portrayal of what it’s like in that room. Saying you can do it again as they put away your headshot is one of the most devastating parts of being an actor. Plus I also lived in Los Angeles for a few years and the movie made me miss my life out there. It’s one of the most authentic LA films since Swingers.
Then there’s the chemistry between the two leads. Stone and Gosling have worked together multiple times already and it shows. You believe their relationship because you believe them as people. Yes Gosling is a good looking fellow, but he’s also one of the best actors going today. He has that “it” factor and not only does he look good on screen, he learned to play piano for the film so now women can love him even more. But he did burn food he was cooking in one scene so you aren’t perfect are you Mr. Gosling?!
I can’t think of anything I didn’t like about La La Land. It’s visually stunning with great camera movement, great music and choreography and the coloring is fantastic. Whether it’s Stone’s dresses and the other wardrobe in the film or different shades in different scenes, the film is vibrant and colorful. It’s an old Hollywood throwback for a generation that might not be familiar with Singin’ in the Rain and Gene Kelly. Simply one of the best of 2016.
Cast & Crew:
- Emma Stone
- Ryan Gosling
- Director Damien Chazelle
Recommended If You Like:
- Old Hollywood
- Ryan Gosling/Emma Stone