La La Land (2017) Review
“Here’s to the ones who dream, foolish as they may seem.”
La La Land is a modern fairy-tale. Damien Chazelle has a created a masterpiece that is something truly special, so rarely do we get the chance to see a film like this made today. It captures the very essence of cinema and film, as a medium through which dreams come to life, and the impossible is made possible. This film is an unforgettable experience.
Having written the screenplay originally in 2010 but lacking a studio to finance the production, Chazelle’s success with the exhilarating, and highly acclaimed Whiplash paved the way for La La Land to be made. The musical follows Mia (Emma Stone) a struggling actress, and jazz enthusiast Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), who meet and you’ve guessed it – fall in love. However, what makes this story so successful is that ultimately the film is about two individuals, who come together and help each other realise their dreams, despite all odds. This message is conveyed through such elegance and grace in Chazelle’s film making. Whether you are a fan of musicals or not, this story is relatable and will undoubtedly inspire you to chase your wildest dreams. Emma Stone gives her best performance yet, Mia is quirky but driven and the emotional link of this film. Equally, Ryan Gosling illuminates the struggles and compromises artists must make. The duo compliment each other so well, and the roles could not have been better cast.
One of the fundamental aspects of this film that makes it so successful is Chazelle’s vision, which is so enchanting. The beautiful cinematography captures Los Angeles in such a scenic, and dream-like way, which perfectly accompanies Mia and Sebastian’s story. It is whimsical, and coloured with the pinks and purples of the sky, it is as though you have stepped into your dreams. The standout shots in particular are all during the musical numbers, where everything has been caught on one take. This is breath-taking and will leave you in awe – as I am sure film fans know the difficulty of doing this. La La Land is a true depiction of film as an art form, and I am still gushing with love and admiration for the perfection achieved here.
Justin Hurwitz provides the music of this film. From the energetic and joyous ‘Another Day of Sun,’ to the passionate and emotive ‘Audition (Fools Who Dream).’ Hurwitz’s music matches the uplifting and motivating nature of the story, yet it still has melancholic undertones. The perfect balance is met through the music to portray the main themes of the film, such that if you were to watch the film with your eyes closed, you will still feel the same emotions as depicted on screen. Particular regard must be given to ‘City of Stars,’ an effortless piece of music, so wonderfully sang by Ryan Gosling, that represents the film best.
La La Land is a magical and wondrous film, which pays tribute to classic Hollywood. Even in many years to come it will be idolised, and esteemed by both audiences and filmmakers. It will most certainly inspire generations of film lovers too. Damien Chazelle has put his stamp on history with this endeavour. I am a huge fan of his and I was anticipating La La Land for so long now, and it completely surpassed my expectations. The love I felt for the first teaser trailer which can be found here, was replicated when I watched the film, but to a much greater extent.
I had said it back in the summer of 2016 and I will say it again, this film deserves all the award nominations, and personally I believe that it should walk away with at least 11 Academy Awards. I could not be happier for Damien Chazelle, and his team for all the success they have achieved through this film. The passion, which they all have for this film, can be clearly seen. I laughed and cried watching La La Land, and left the cinema feeling so uplifted and inspired. La La Land needs to be seen by all, I really don’t even think i have the words to give it justice. (Please excuse the fangirling over Damien Chazelle, i can’t help myself sometimes)
5/5 and beyond!