La La Land, directed by Damien Chazelle, hit the theaters this past year on Christmas Day. Co-starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, this musical is about a jazz musician who meets and falls in love with an aspiring actress in L.A. This movie features amazing acting performances by the duo, beautiful cinematography, a captivating romance, high quality directing, and astounding musical composition with entertaining dance numbers to accompany them.
The quality of movies lately has been on a decline. Everything released nowadays is a sequel, reboot, remake, or based off an unoriginal story. Film is losing its art form. La La Land was a return to the old way of making movies. Its originality was such a relief to see after the spout of orthodoxy that has recently been presented by Hollywood.
Its craftily written music and dance routines (particularly a tap-duet performed by Gosling and Stone) left the audiences humming to themselves after exiting the theater with smiles on their faces. With the movie’s focus around jazz, it gave the entire movie a classic aura that was quite enjoyable to watch. Combined with the gorgeous cinematography, composed of bright, vibrant colors, the film submerged the viewer into the charming era of the 1950’s while remaining in present times. Damien Chazelle’s directing choices were brilliant in the making of the setting to give the feel of a different time period.
The acting by Gosling and Stone in La La Land was perfectly executed. The chemistry between the two was magical, charming, and a pleasure to watch unfold on screen. This, of course, was aided by an excellent script written by Damien Chazelle. The dialogue between the two was wittily thought and acted out. The duet also made the audience feel the emotions the two characters were feeling, as if the audience was a part of the story along with them. The performances were captivating on an intimate level.
Chazelle has taken Hollywood by storm with his innovative and musical themes. La La Land is Chazelle’s second film, following 2014’s Whiplash, a story about a jazz drummer. Undoubtedly, Whiplash won an Oscar for J.K. Simmons’ role as well as for film editing and sound mixing. It is predictable that Whiplash will not be the last Chazelle film to win an Oscar.
The upbeat tone of the film from the fantastically done music is due to Justin Hurwitz. Hurwitz, the composer of La La Land and Whiplash, won two Golden Globes for the score and the original song, City of Stars. Hurwitz specializes in jazz music and shows off his talent with a fantastically composed piece of art.
After sweeping the Golden Globes, this movie will be considered a classic and favorite among audiences. It will go on to be nominated for multiple Oscars and will most likely take home a majority of them. A variety of people will find this movie enjoyable, whether they are into romance, theater, or just great movies. La La Land is a phenomenal film and is definitely worthwhile to sit down and watch on a lazy afternoon.
Overall rating: 9.5/10
By Brendan Reiss and Dylan M. Johnson