La La Land is the latest musically invigorating film from director Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. When an aspiring actress (Stone) has a chance encounter with a down-on-his-luck Jazz pianist (Gosling) a captivating relationship blossoms in the heart of the City of Angels.
Right off the bat; this film is visually gorgeous, and a little misleading to some degree. Chazelle’s use of flamboyant colours alongside Justin Hurwitz’s score and Mandy Moore’s dance choreography, made for some true theatrical eye candy.
However, I often caught myself thinking; “Oh, that’s right, this isn’t set in the ‘70s, it’s modern day.” There are some very subtle costume and set designs that creates this 1970s-era vibe, which trickles through to the rest of the movie and brings a Grease-esque element, to the first act especially.
As, La La Land, is Chazelle’s second mainstream indie film, I’m beginning to pick up on a common theme. That theme being; really pushing that; “Jazz is dying” PSA. To some extent, I see this as a good thing. Well, if it means that we’ll keep getting these jazz-infused cinematic masterpieces, I’m right on board. Let’s continue pushing jazz off the plank.
On the note of music; (I see what I did there) Chazelle has, once again, collaborated with Justin Hurwitz for a Golden Globe nominated score, that really makes up the backbone of this film. From hundreds of people dancing atop their cars (in what could only, otherwise, be described as mentally unstable behaviour) to LSD-like montages, this film wouldn’t work if the music wasn’t on point. Luckily, we don’t have to worry about that, because Hurwitz delivers on every emotional beat, as the film requires them.
My only nit-pick with this movie is that Gosling’s singing, particularly his solo moment, is a little rough. And you know what; it’s not even that he’s bad, it’s just that there has been such a high-bar set for the rest of the film, that it highlights his much-better-than-mediocre singing voice.
All previously mentioned points, accompanied by an unconventional happy ending, makes La La Land a strong Oscar contender amongst various categories, and the perfect date movie.