6 points about
La La Land.
Yep, I finally got around to seeing this one. There is so much hype around this movie, and it is currently sweeping up the awards, including 7 at the Golden Globes. I personally hate musicals, so until the hype train took off for this movie, I just wasn’t that excited. But finally I got watching the Oscar frontrunner, and I can safely say that the hype is warranted. I did love Damien Chazelle’s first movie, Whiplash, and I am also a big Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling fan. So read my 6 points below about La La Land.
1. The chemistry between Gosling and Stone was phenomenal.
These two were perfect for their roles. They had such good chemistry, and it just felt so natural on screen when these two were together. Their scenes never felt forced or unnecessary. You would almost forget that it is two actors/actresses on screen and not two real people. They both will get nominated for an Oscar, and both won at the Globes. I am not sure whether or not they will win, as the category is brimming with contenders this year, but who knows. They really had to carry this movie, as there is nobody else in it, bar an excellent small role for J.K Simmons. If they didn’t have good chemistry, then this movie just wouldn’t work. It relies heavily on Gosling and Stone, and thankfully they both delivered excellent performances, without ever going over the top.
2. The musical parts were excellently mixed with non-musical parts.
I could have phrased that a bit better, but the point is still valid. The musical numbers never feel forced or there just because it’s a musical. I don’t typically like musicals because there is a story being told, and then just out of nowhere, and inexplicably, everyone is singing and dancing. With La La Land, the story is advanced through the songs and dancing, therefore it feels part of the story, and not just plopped in just so it counts as a musical. The music had a purpose and was weaved in and out of the movie excellently. Chazelle certainly has a knack for using music very well in movies between this and Whiplash, and he should continue making these kinds of movies.
3. Not only did the music make sense, it also was great.
The opening scene of this movie doesn’t exactly have much to do with the story, but it set the tone for the movie perfectly. Also, it was a great, upbeat song. Music can be used as a storytelling device all you want, but if the music was terrible it wouldn’t be worth watching. This is definitely not the case with this movie. Every song was excellent. City of Stars will probably win best song, and I know I am contradicting myself from my Sing Street review, but dammit it’s a great song. There really is a lot of great, original music to take in. Justin Hurwitz did a lot of this and a lot of props have to go to the guy. The dancing sequences were excellent, and Gosling and Stone were excellent in them. There was one particular dancing scene that had a Los Angeles sunrise as the backdrop, which was excellently executed and beautifully choreographed.
4. This was a simple story, told in an extraordinary way.
This isn’t a complex story that you need to fully concentrate on the entire time to understand the plot. This is a simple love story, told in a less than simple way. Down to the bones, this is a love story, about two people who fall in love, and the ups and downs of the following relationship. Also, without spoiling, the ending has a great pay-off. I loved seeing these two passionate people trying to pursue what they love. In Gosling’s case it’s jazz, and in Stone’s its acting. They bounce off of each other brilliantly. They bring the best out of each other and encourage each other in a way that is so entertaining. Chazelle wrote a wonderful screenplay, without relying too much on it. The screenplay compliments the overall story. This movie also feels very realistic, and it is what would happen if these things happened in real life. Something that I said above, is that the movie often feels real, and not as if I am watching a movie.
5. This was also a technically brilliant movie.
Easily one of the best shot movies of the year. Beautiful, long shots, with beautiful scenery were the norm with La La Land. This should win for best cinematography, and fully deserves to. The dance scenes were shot beautifully, and they excellently choreographed also. The score was fantastic, the production design was wonderful, the costume design was excellent. To be honest, almost everything in this movie was spectacular. The lighting is not something I ever particularly notice or care about to be honest. But light and dark was used so well to put different characters in the spotlight so well. I can’t fault this movie from a technical standpoint, and will more than likely rake up Oscars in these categories.
6. Overall, La La Land is a dazzling movie that redefined a dead genre.
The musical genre looked pretty dead in the water before this movie came out. If anybody wants to know how to make a musical, take a look at this movie. La La Land has gained some much warranted hype, and will rake up awards in the coming weeks, and probably at the Oscars as well. I won’t go through each individual category , as it stands a chance in almost all of them. Will it challenge The Return of the King’s record? I am not sure, but who knows. I think I have said everything that needs to be said about this movie, and I will give it a 9.75/10.