Wednesday, 28 December 2016

La La Land

Damien Chazelle's follow up to his acclaimed 2014 film Whiplash follows along with his theme of trying to achieve your dreams in the entertainment industry, but with a lot more in the way of singing and dancing. Chazelle also makes a comment about the nature of Hollywood and the way that it treats the young people who go there looking for stardom. As we saw with Whiplash, he is also more than capable when it comes to putting music in movies.

Mia (Emma Stone) is an aspiring actress struggling to get even small roles as she drifts from audition to audition with girls who look exactly like her. She goes to Hollywood parties in the hopes of being spotted by a producer. Mia keeps running into Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a jazz pianist who is trying very hard to be taken seriously despite playing Christmas carols at bars and 80s pop songs at parties. Eventually the pair strike up a relationship and soon deviate from their respective dreams as they realise life works differently than they intended.

La La Land is an amazing movie that despite being set in the modern day, has the feeling like it could be set in any time period as the story it tells is one that started when Hollywood was born. The dream of making it in Hollywood is one that so many have tried and a lot more have failed than succeeded. Chazelle based this film on his own experiences he had when he first moved to Hollywood and the struggles he had. I'm glad that the romantic elements of this film aren't made a priority, because while they are a good way to movie the story forward, it would be a bore to have this film be about the romance. In a way, both characters are more in love with their dreams than they are with each other. This is the third time that Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling have starred together and their chemistry is undeniable. Both play wholly enjoyable characters who are a delight to watch,

Chazelle is fantastic at integrating music into his films, so it is only reasonable that he try his hand at making a musical (although it isn't fully a musical). Justin Hurwitz's score beautifully compliments the big song and dance numbers and while there are basically only three different music variations (apart from the songs), they just work so well. There is also some amazing camera work done during the songs and they play exactly like a Hollywood musical from the 50s or 60s. I do have a few gripes with the musical aspect of this film. The third act is largely devoid of any musical numbers and relies solely on regular story in tying up the film. I get that it was the darker period for the characters, but you can still convey that through song. The other thing is that singer-songwriter John Legend has a small role in the film and I felt like he could have had more songs, because the ones he did have didn't display his talents.

La La Land is just a fun and enjoyable movie, especially to see at the end of a year that hasn't been too good. It is joyful and optimistic right up to the end, where it gets a little heartbreaking as we see the whole movie through the eyes of what might have been.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Jasper Roberts Consulting - Widget