Thursday, December 15, 2016

La La Land Review: A Stylish Musical and A Triumphant Film!

Coming to the end of the year we have now entered the pivotal season for film known as Oscar Season. This is the time where all the so-called great movies start hitting the scenes in order for them to see if they have what it takes to be best picture of the year. Among these movies is a little film known as La La Land. Directed by Damien Chazelle La La Land is a musical of all things that centers on two people trying to live their dreams in Hollywood. The film has received praise from many critics and has done fairly well in the film festival circuit. However I am not most critics-so does La La Land have me singing its praise?

La La Land centers on two people: an aspiring named actress Mia (Emma Stone) and the musician Sebastian (Ryan Gosling). After a series of events the two cross paths where they get to know each other's dreams. Mia wants to become a major actress in Hollywood while Sebastian wants to open his very own Jazz Club. Eventually through song and dance the two fall in love and set out to live out their dreams together. However Mia and Sebastian realize how difficult it is to live their dreams as the complications of life leads to conflict between the lovers.

The story to La La Land was better than I expected. When it came down to it this was a character-driven story that was strong in its morals and themes. I was particularly surprised with the love story of the film. The romance between Mia and Sebastian was believable and it seemed to fit very well with the rest of the plot. Yet if there was one area I found questionable about La La Land's story it was its narrative. The story was broken into four sections each representing a different season of the year. This was an interesting move and it did clarify the passage of time in the movie, but breaking up the story in four sections had little impact on the overall presentation as there was little to no difference between each part. Despite its questionable narrative the tale to La La Land was still effective as its delivery made all the difference in this musical plot.

When it came to the film's cast this was one that centered on its two leads, and this direction was certainly fulfilling  The characters of Sebastian and Mia were as intriguing as they were believable, and they had great chemistry together which was thanks to the performances of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling-much to my surprise. Although I wish this film had a stronger supporting cast. There were certainly interesting characters in the group such as Sebastian's colleague Keith (John Legend),his sister Laura (Rosemarie DeWitt) and a brief appearance from JK Simmons. However the other characters had little to no time to develop and left a minimal impression on the film itself. Yet despite the minor nitpick the cast to La La Land was still a strong one and this was thanks that two dreamers that were the leads.

In the matter of technical aspects there was definitely a sense of wonder to La La Land, and this was apparent in the film's musical numbers. The music was catchy and captivating as I find myself humming the tunes even as I write this review. I particularly like the numbers "City of Stars" and "The Fools Who Dream" as they captured the right melody and tone to leave a lasting impression. The musical numbers were only complemented by the movies fantastic dance sequences. The duet between Mia and Sebastian was reminiscent to classic musicals while their dance in the auditorium Blended beautiful choreography with movie magic; and the choreography culminated in the movie's finale-which was just a spectacle to see. Adding to these elements was the cinematography by Linus Sandgren which melded a classic look with modern day filmmaking.

I went in a skeptic but I came out a lover of La La Land. The film brings a new concept to a classic genre and exceeds in just about every area that it strives for. With its ambitious storytelling, strong performances and charismatic sense of song and dance, La La Land is a movie experience worth venturing to; and it is undoubtedly one of the best films that I have seen all year.

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