One film that has alluded me for a few weeks now is the new critically acclaimed musical La La Land. I had heard many great things about it, so it was only natural that I check the film out and see how good it was. The result being a very enjoyable experience.
La La Land tells a love story between Mia Dolan (Emma Stone) and Sebastian Wilder (Ryan Gosling) as they follow their dreams in the city of Los Angeles. Mia is an aspiring actress who continually exhausts her resources auditioning for every role in films she can. Sebastian is an aspiring jazz musician who wants to one day own a jazz club. Through a series of events I can only describe as fate, Mia and Sebastian form a relationship while they attempt to juggle following their dreams.
Overall I think that La La Land is a great movie, fantastic even. Musicals usually aren’t my thing, but this one was especially compelling. The singing and dancing in La La Land was a lot of fun to watch and I was very engaged in the story and characters.
The biggest aspect of any musical is of course the music, and in this aspect La La Land really delivers. The staple song ‘City of Stars’ has been stuck in my head since I left the theater, but in a good way. Just about all the songs in La La Land had their unique lyrics, locations, and tone.
Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling were both great and had some amazing on screen chemistry. At times it was hard for me to look at them as two characters in a movie and not as Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, but that’s just natural. This does not detract away from their great performances, as they are very successful at captivating the audience with their interesting personalities.
I could tell that La La Land was crafted very precisely and meticulously by the filmmakers. The choreography of the many, many dance scenes was very exact. Which is particularly impressive, because the choreography often seemed to be very rigorous and demanding.
The very first scene of the film involving a big traffic jam along an LA highway showcases this perfectly. Everyone involved in the jam gets out of their cars and starts singing and dancing in unison. The scene lasts for maybe five to ten minutes and is all one long tracking shot, meaning the actors had to get it all exactly right in a single go. I was pretty astonished at how they managed to shoot this grand scene so well.
For those who like good camera work and lighting, look no further. La La Land uses a variety of camera angles and lighting styles to keep from being monotonous. Both of these aspects really stuck out to me as being impressive, and I feel it will for others as well.
The end of La La Land is one that I definitely did not see coming. I won’t spoil anything, but I think the last fifteen minutes or so is what really elevates this to being a fantastic film. It accurately displays the true talent behind the writers and the director in just how well this scene is crafted. The emotion and passion we see from our two protagonists in this scene actually got an audible reaction from many audience members at my viewing. We are given insight into all the deep thoughts and feelings the characters have within a span of a few minutes.
La La Land is everything a fan of musicals could want, and more. The performances by Stone and Gosling are fantastic, the songs catchy and enjoyable, and the story is one we can all relate to. I can see myself going back to La La Land years later and still enjoying it all the same. I think the story here is timeless and nostalgic, one that will last for many years to come.
The Verdict: A