#REVIEW: “LA LA LAND”
We’ve seen many Films about falling in love and usually the ‘happily ever after’ begins there, leaving us at that. A rarity however is a Film that captures with great truth the tenderness of both falling in and out of love and also the costs of pursuing our dreams.
Director Damien Chazelle wowed us with Academy Award winner Whiplash back in 2014. In already what is looking like a brilliant career ahead, he dispels defiantly any talk of a sophomore slump in current Oscar Frontrunner and festival favourite, La La Land.
Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) is a struggling jazz pianist, trying to strike that balance between artistic integrity and earning a living. He crosses paths with porcelain-skinned beauty Mia (Emma Stone) in energetic opening number Another Day of Sun, set amidst bustle of Los Angeles traffic. Mia is a fledgling actress navigating audition to audition unsuccessfully, passing her time as a barista in a café on the Warner Bros. studio lot. Kismet brings Sebastian and Mia together and what blossoms is an immaculately-stylized romance told through vibrant colours, deeply-affecting song and precise choreography. As Sebastian and Mia‘s careers take them along separate paths, they must grapple with the costs associated with pursuing their dreams, primarily the strain on their relationship.
Gosling channels once again that familiar charm which we loved so much in the early parts of Blue Valentine, bringing an effortless coolness to Sebastian. Stone is magnificent, delivering a career-best performance. Her large, cat-like eyes are her most powerful tool evoking Mia‘s range of emotions from being lovestruck, to heartbroken and hopelessly in despair. It is impossible to keep our eyes off her for she is enchanting. While Gosling and Stone are paired together a third time here, the results are more Crazy.Stupid.Love than Gangster Squad, thankfully.
We adore every intricate detail about La La Land. Whether it be its simplistic yet unforgettable melodies penned by Justin Hurwitz on tunes like Audition (sung by Stone) and City of Stars (sung by Gosling, plus a duet version between the Film’s two leads), or the bespoke costume tailoring, everything seen and heard here is inspired and won’t soon be forgotten.
La La Land is heartbreaking, yet uplifting and hopeful. It is a reminder that everything works out one way or another and that we are a product of our experiences and those we love. Love never dies, it lives on in some shape or form as long as we continue to live on.
Chazelle has a delicate comprehension of the artist’s struggle as seen now in both of his Feature Films and while the Film possesses pure nostalgia, he tells this story with new innovation and old techniques which together pair harmoniously here. The Film is a throwback to the golden era of the Hollywood Musical which our generation regretfully had missed, but is told in a way today’s audience will understand. La La Land is a gold standard to the future of the Musical. It is by far our favourite Film in recent years and we are ecstatic for you to discover it!
eOne Films release LA LA LAND Christmas Day.