Film Review: La La Land

With an off-centre jazz soundtrack accompanying a quirky and captivating directorial style, it’s no surprise that La La Land has created a buzz amongst film fanatics and critics alike. The Oscars are just around the corner and I’d bet good money that this film will walz away with more than one gold statue if its record sweep of 7 wins at the Golden Globes is anything to go by.

Starting off in a traffic jam on an L.A. freeway, the scene rapidly erupts with colour, music & dance. This isn’t just Los Angeles, this is ‘tinsel town’ where dreams are thrust into life. In the opening act, Ryan Gosling (playing an aspiring Jazz pianist) and Emma Stone (ironically playing a hopeful actress) cross paths on numerous occasions and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see what’s coming. They fall in love in the most Hollywood of ways; starlit walks, backdrops of a sun-kissed city awash with the glow of millions of wishes taking flight and a tapdancing scene under the light of a lamppost, a wonderful doff of the cap to musical cinematic royalty.

As their lives intertwine and their aspirations cease to be fantasy, the reality of the L.A. dream seeps onto the screen, blotting out the colour as it does so. The music becomes more melancholic and the on-screen narrative mirrors this change. Told over four seasons and five years, we get to witness both characters achieve great success through personal and emotional sacrifice. The Hollywood dream doesn’t come cheap and the price is often not worth the prize as is the case here.

The real star of the show, excluding the novel direction and dazzling array of songs and haunting piano pieces, is Gosling and Stone’s chemistry which flowed as naturally as blood through your veins, their warmth and passion for each other radiating off the screen. This isn’t their first film playing romantic interests and if you’ve seen Crazy Stupid Love, it’s clear that they work well together.

Another aspect that I’ve not really noticed in any other film (at least consciously) were the sounds used to help transition between the character’s stories. It felt intuitive and eased the viewer from scene to scene and helped in the latter stages to pick out little but ambrosial nuances and behaviours. The music constantly whistled a tune, a love song to the musicals of old, when Hollywood really knew how to make ’em. I simply adored this film and I insist that you see it at the cinema where, in my oh-so-humble opinion, films should be watched.

La La Land is a must see for lovers of the silver screen who long for the golden era of Hollywood musicals.

10/10 crumbs from me!

R.

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