Love letter to Old Hollywood and a tribute to jazz music.
Writer/Director Damien Chazelle, who already established a fruitful career with his debut film 2014’s Whiplash, explodes into the big time with his follow-up, the delightful, mesmerizing, and completely unexpected love letter to Tinseltown, La La Land.
La La Land is a modern day musical where Ryan Gosling plays a jazz piano player who has a lot of passion for this genre of music, and Emma Stone is an aspiring actress who meets him and they begin to fall for each other, and their story’s told through musical form, whether it’s dancing or singing.
The opening sequence of the movie, (Another Day of Sun) really does not do the rest of the film justice, though it’s probably the best musical moment in film in years. It’s a 10 minute flash-mob dance sequence taking place in the Santa Monica freeway, full of razzle dazzle, and unbelievable choreography.
From that point on, the film is hypnotic. We segue to a love story as pure as anything since the great dramas of the 1940s. It’s also a great tribute to 1950’s musicals especially 1956’s Singin in the Rain.
Gosling is surprising as a leading man expected to do song and dance, but he delivers the goods. Stone, who was supposed to be "the next big thing" after Easy A (2010), steals the film and possibly the hearts of the audience as well. The awards should flow like water, and she will deserve every one.
La La Land is an ode to Old Hollywood, the Hollywood of the 1950’s. The film industry has always had issues with endings -- back in the day they would film several different endings per picture -- and then decide at the last minute which to use. Here Chazelle pays homage to that by giving us an alternate ending, along with the "real" ending, along with a closing sequence designed to remind everyone that nothing in Hollywood is actually real, but everything still can be really fun.
The movie is destined to be a classic. Highly recommended.
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