“La La Land” is a melodic masterpiece
Independent darling dazzles with old Hollywood glamour
“La La Land,” a modern-day romantic musical, serves as an homage to classic Hollywood and the dreamers seduced by that ideal. Coming off of an Oscar nomination for “Whiplash,” Damien Chazelle serves as both writer and director for the altogether original and enchanting film. Initially premiering at the Venice Film Festival, “La La Land” went on to appear in numerous festivals and earned a great deal of recognition, ultimately receiving national distribution at the end of 2016. Throughout its extended run, the film has left audiences across the globe spellbound.
Filmed in old world cinemascope, the audience is transported to the golden age of film. “La La Land” goes beyond imitation to create a modern Hollywood classic, and invokes a plethora of classic influences from “Umbrellas of Cherbourg” to “The Young Girls of Rochefort.” The combination of music reminiscent of ‘50s musicals paired with the tale of a present-day romance produces a duality of modern and classic present throughout the film.
The film follows the relationship between two Hollywood dreamers — Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress, and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a passionate jazz pianist. Both characters embody the idealistic dreamers that inhabit Los Angeles, or La La Land, and their attempt to fulfill an almost impossible dream. The film succeeds in exhibiting not only the lofty ideals of these dreamers, but the harsh reality that comes with such dreams. The result is a complex depiction of what life in La La Land is truly like.
“La La Land” features an incredibly strong yet limited cast, which allows the romance between Mia and Sebastian to truly shine. In their third pairing, preceded by “Crazy, Stupid, Love” and “Gangster Squad,” Stone and Gosling’s chemistry is an undeniable force. Their love blossoms in dreamlike romanticism only to develop into modern realism as the film continues, symbolizing a pattern common in almost any relationship. “La La Land” utilizes lyrical music and accompanying dance numbers to elevate the story of their romance and intensify the film’s impact.
“La La Land” is incredibly dynamic and features one of the strongest love stories on modern film. It is a must-see film for the new year.