REVIEW: La La Land

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As Emma Stone said during her Golden Globes’ Best Actress (Comedy/Musical) winning speech for this film: “This is a film for dreamers”.

That statement could not be more correct.

A good number of people may be put off seeing La La Land thanks to one word: musical. A cinematic genre that had its heyday 60 years ago, but that doesn’t mean truly great musicals can’t be released these days does it!?

La La Land is exactly that, a truly great musical. A film that is, in essence, a love letter to the classic musicals of old Hollywood, yet entirely modern. A fantastical film that somehow feels so real. A film shot so beautifully it’s like a painting. A film that is one of the more emotional pieces of cinema that has been released in a long time.

All that being said, La La Land will not be universally loved. It can’t be. It’s a particular film with a particular audience in mind. Dreamers. Those of us who long to do something wonderful with our lives. Those of us who strive for success in everything we do.

If you’re looking for a whole lot of gritty realism with the films you want to see, don’t look at La La Land. If you’re looking for hope, love, beauty and most of all, emotion in your films, look no further.

The film tells the story of Sebastian (Ryan Gosling – The Notebook, Drive, The Nice Guys), a jazz musician looking to save a dying genre of music. Sound familiar to the film itself?

He meets and falls in love with aspiring actress Mia (Emma Stone – Birdman, Easy A, The Amazing Spider-Man) and the film simply tells the story of their relationship while both try to become successes in Los Angeles.

Director, Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) has somehow managed to make two films in two years about jazz music, both of which have been excellent. He is one of the most exciting up-and-coming directors in the industry today and the way he constructed this film was utterly stunning.

The musical and dance numbers were wonderful to watch and the film starts with perhaps the best one of the lot. You’re not overrun by musical numbers like you can be in some films of this kind though.

There are lengthy periods in between but then one will flow so naturally in that it’s almost unnoticeable that you’re back in a musical.

It is another example of why Ryan Gosling is one of the best actors working today and as for Emma Stone, it’s her greatest role yet. Both actors are so easily likeable on and off the screen that you develop a connection to them before they’ve even done anything in the film. Their chemistry together, which began with their memorable relationship in 2011’s Crazy, Stupid Love is incredible but in La La Land it’s taken to another level.

The emotional element of their relationship, and of the film and the messages within it itself, are ramped up so high, you will exit this film with a tear in your eye and a song in your heart.

It will not be forgotten in a hurry.

After breaking the record for the most amount of Golden Globes wins by a single film, with seven, at this year’s awards, La La Land is certainly the favourite for the Oscar, despite some very impressive competition.

It has definitely been overhyped by some. Constant talk about a film as good as this can lead to that so don’t go in expecting the greatest film you will ever see. Go in expecting what it is. A beautiful, emotional, hopeful, funny, deep film with great music and excellent performances.

It’s a real treat to watch.

‘Here’s to the ones who dream, foolish as they may seem.’

Certification – 12A
Run Time – 128mins

95%
95%
For the dreamers
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