Barton’s Movie Reviews LFF Special | LA LA LAND

You know when you’re watching a film that you just don’t want to end, and when it does end you feel as if you could watch it all over again right there and then? I had that feeling with La La Land, the new film from Damien Chazelle, who blew us all away with Whiplash a few years ago.


With La La Land, Chazelle has made an irresistible musical comedy-drama that serves up a real delight for the eyes and ears. If you haven’t heard of this film yet (where have you been?), I’m sure you will do in the coming months.


Mia Dolan (Emma Stone) is an aspiring actress serving coffees to film stars while Sebastian Wilder (Ryan Gosling) is a jazz pianist playing a small time bar to make ends meet. The two meet and fall in love but it’s their dreams of success that soon threaten to tear them apart.


The most striking thing about La La Land is just how beautifully crafted a film it is; the story, performances, music, dance numbers and cinematography all playing their part in making this such an unforgettable cinematic experience. I genuinely can’t find one single fault in this film.


Chazelle proves yet again just how mature he is for such a young filmmaker, writing and directing such a touching and often funny love story with a meticulous energy. The whole feel of the film is a throwback to the golden age of musicals, a decision a lot of filmmakers would have been too scared to make yet the pay off is massively satisfying. 


The gorgeous cinematography from Linus Sandgren brings the city of Los Angeles to life, awash with colour, while his swift camerawork, including some impressive long takes, in particular through the dance numbers, immerses the audience right in the middle of this dreamlike musical.


Coming to the performances, La La Land features two superb lead performances from Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, both giving arguably their best performance to date. Gosling has really grown on me as an actor, maturing into one of the best in the business today. He proved earlier this year that he has a knack for comedy in The Nice Guys and he proves it yet again here. Stone always manages to impress me and she is dazzling in La La Land, singing and dancing her way into our hearts. The pair share an undeniable chemistry and I would love to see them both get the recognition they deserve come awards season.

 

Justin Hurwitz’s score and the original songs in La La Land, along with the wonderfully choreographed dance sequences, including a great opening number that sets the tone for the rest of the film, heighten the film’s level of originality, maintaining that energy Chapelle’s films possess.

I dare you to try and not fall in love with La La Land. I fell in love with it and I’m sure many more will do so too.

Verdict: ★★★★★

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