Wednesday 28 December 2016

Move Review: La La Land

My last movie review was May 2015. Did I stop going to the movies? No, I didn't. But I hadn't really seen anything worth commenting on. Until now.

Musicals can be an acquired taste. There's nothing more realistic than somebody walking down the street and spontaneously bursting into song mixed with a dance number in which passersby join in with synchronised precision. Ha, ha. If life were only that way.

Musicals have, as a central goal - it may be their raison d'ĂȘtre - to tug at our heart strings spawning unbridled bouts of emotions accompanied by a welling of tears. We're choked up. We're verklempt.

Writer and director Damien Chazelle, with the help on-screen lovers Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, has succeeded. It started slow, but the emotional finale had me wiping away tears: I'm actually a sentimental old fool. Aren't we all a sucker for love? Aren't we all overcome by nostalgia when our lovers don't get together, but all of us, including the principals, have a vision of what life would have been like if chance had seen fit to bring them together?

As of this writing, Rotten Tomatoes rates it at 92%. Not everybody goes to Rotten Tomatoes, but it is usually my first stop in assessing whether or not to see a film. I hate walking out of the movie theatre saying, "I want two hours of my life back!" And I'm certain musical is not at the top of your list of entertainment to go see, however in this case, it did succeed.

In a nutshell: Emma Stone plays Mia Dolan, aspiring actress. Ryan Gosling plays Sebastian Wilder, a jazz pianist with principals. A starving jazz pianist I should add. Our star-crossed lovers keep not meeting, then meet, fall in love, and are eventually forced by fate to go their separate ways to fulfill their individual destinies. In all this, there's song and dance, just like in real life, no? Okay, a musical like any superhero movie requires a suspension of belief, the acceptance of a premise no matter how outlandish. Once you get over that hurdle, anything goes. And like Superman, Mia and Sebastian fly. Just go see the movie.

Miscellaneous facts about the film

* This is the third movie featuring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone:
Wikipedia Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)
Wikipedia: Gangster Squad (2013)

* La la land has a double meaning.
Los Angeles is known as La La Land, obviously where aspiring entertainers go to (try to) fulfill their dreams.
Merriam-Webster: a euphoric dreamlike mental state detached from the harsher realities of life

Final Word
Recommended. Bring a tissue or two. Oddly enough, I enjoyed this much more than Christmas's big blockbuster Rogue One. That's sacrelege I know, but sentimentality won out over CGI.


Rotten Tomatoes: La La Land (2016): 92%
La La Land breathes new life into a bygone genre with thrillingly assured direction, powerful performances, and an irresistible excess of heart.

Wikipedia: La La Land (film)
La La Land is a 2016 American romantic musical comedy-drama film written and directed by Damien Chazelle and starring Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, and Rosemarie DeWitt. The plot follows a musician and an aspiring actress who meet and fall in love in Los Angeles. It is the third film to feature Gosling and Stone as lovers, following Crazy, Stupid, Love and Gangster Squad.

YouTube: La La Land (2016 Movie) Official Behind-The-Scenes Featurette

YouTube: La La Land (2016 Movie) Official Featurette – The Music

YouTube: La La Land - "Lovely Night Dance" Film Clip

YouTube: La La Land (2016 Movie) Official TV Spot – “Take Your Breath Away”

YouTube: ‘Mia & Sebastian’s Theme (Late For The Date)’ - La La Land Original Motion Picture Score (partial)

YouTube: LaLa Land OST - Mia & Sebastian’s Theme (partial) - solo piano by JayM

MsMojo - Dec 9/2016
YouTube: Top 5 Must-Know La La Land Facts


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1 comment: said...

If you read something of mine and found an error or typo I hope you would point it out. In that spirit, you used the word hurtle, but I believe you meant hurdle. Nice review, really enjoyable movie. I loved the opening number. It was as great as the opening number in "All That Jazz" at least I think it was the opening number...