Before I get into my review, I have to let you know four things that will determine whether you will like this movie or not. They are:
- The actor is Ryan Gosling
- The actress is Emma Stone
- La La Land is a musical (2 hours long)
- The genre of the music is jazz
If you have agreed to all four of the above-mentioned elements, then you will enjoy the movie as it’s meant to be.
The setting is Los Angeles, the City of Angels.
We meet Mia (a gorgeous and intelligent Emma Stone), a young woman working as a barista who dreams of being a successful actress in Hollywood. She is very unlucky in her auditions and has her dreams crashing too often.
Then we have Sebastian (a smooth and charismatic Ryan Gosling), a pianist who dreams of opening up his own club that will allow people to play jazz music. Not just any jazz, but pure jazz, which according to Sebastian is a dying art.
Their paths cross and they sing their way through the four seasons as they encounter challenges, hopes, dreams, love, laughter and life- and yes they dance too.
At the core of the movie, the story is rather simple, one that of a boy meets girl. But in the hands of the talented director Damien Chazelle (who directed the Oscar-winning movie Whiplash), La La Land becomes a pure escapist movie that allows us all to leave the worries of the world and embark on the journey with Mia and Sebastian.
With some rather powerful moments- such as Sebastian piano performance- the movie certainly draws you in with many wonderful charming moments. Some of the highlights for me were:
- Mia and Sebastian’s after-party walk on the road ending in a beautifully choreographed dance sequence against the sunrise over the city of LA.
- The likeability and relatability of Gosling and Stone’s characters– we root for them and want them to get together.
- The rather unexpected ending, which works extremely well in my opinion.
- The beautifully shot locations of the city of Los Angeles
The only minor quips I had with the movie was the running time at 2 hours 8 minutes that somewhat tested my patience. Secondly, the jazz music, although mesmerising initially, does tend to get a little too repetitive thus causing a slight waning of interest.
However, I loved the journey of Mia and Sebastian over the course of the year. The way they encourage each other to follow their dreams and passions is a treat to watch. Their hopes and dreams that are tainted by disappointments and let downs become a reality check. The ups and downs through their relationship is just like that of any couple working through it all. Two people achieve their dreams by being there for one another but for that to happen, compromises take place too. The last scene will tug at your heart strings.
As an artistic person, I loved the visuals and the colors used in the film. The settings, the clothes, the props, the background all were just so visually appealing it became a huge treat to watch.
Again, La La Land will appeal to you if you are a fan of Hollywood musicals (this one reminded me of The Artist) and are fond of Gosling and Stone, then you are in for a treat as you escape the real world and enter the magical music world of La La Land.
3.5 out of 5
Genre: Musical, Romance, Drama
Director: Damien Chazelle
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone
Synopsis: Mia, a struggling actress, and Sebatsian, an unsuccessful painist, meet each other to help one another achieve their dreams in the city of Los Angeles.
Running time: 128 mins
Seen at: Supercinema, Royal Palm Lahore
Approval Ratings: 96% Rotten Tomatoes