La La Land: LFF Film Review

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I have not been this excited about a film since Star Wars last year and following the critical acclaim it received at the Venice Film Festival, my hype for La La Land was huge and my expectation level so high and it was exactly what I wanted and more. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it.

Mia Dolan (Emma Stone) works a barista while going to endless, soul-destroying auditions to become an actress and one night, she is drawn to a restaurant by a piece of music played by Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a jazz pianist who has just been fired by his boss (J.K. Simmons) for not sticking to the Christmas-themed setlist. They embark on a romance… and that is all you need to know. It is best enjoyed not knowing everything about it.

I have always loved a musical and it’s rare to come across one which uses original music so this just made me so happy. It was joyful, happy, a celebration of life, love and following your dreams but also not as cheesy as that all sounds – it doesn’t follow the sappy plot you’d expect and I like that it takes unexpected turns. I kept thinking “they don’t make movies like this any more” and they don’t which is a bloody shame because I would watch them any day. It is takes old Hollywood glamour and brings it right to the present day.

I read online that Miles Teller and Emma Watson were originally attached to this project and I’m sorry but I can’t imagine anybody other than Stone and Gosling in those parts – they have been in two films together previously, Crazy Stupid Love and Gangster Squad, and it is clear they get along well. I have always fancied the pants off Gosling and it gets even worse here because we see him not only act but dance (his tap dancing is the best!), sing and play piano (I’m not sure if that’s all him). Stone is just glorious to watch – she has these captivating big eyes and is the emotional centre of the story. She may not be as capable at singing or dancing as Gosling (she’s still great though) but she pulls an amazing performance out of the bag and I want her to get a nomination come awards season.

Damien Chazelle nailed it with Whiplash and he nails it again here. It is a musical but it’s not over-saturated with songs, it is more a romance drama with songs peppered in sparingly. It’s not too cheesy or sentimental, I found the drama to be very realistic and the dance and song numbers to be absolutely glorious, dreamy and beautifully choreographed. Some of the sets and shots were freaking gorgeous as well. The song used in the trailer ‘City of Stars’ has been in my head all day and saw two other films after this. I wouldn’t change a thing about it.

Seen as part of the 60th BFI London Film Festival. Set for cinema release in the U.K. in January 2017. 

Trackbacks

  1. […] so it may include films I actually saw in late 2015 and although I desperately wanted to put La La Land, Hacksaw Ridge, Lion and Free Fire on this list, they aren’t out until 2017, so unfortunately […]

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