La La Land is a film that has so many plaudits that I was wondering if it could possibly live up to my expectations. The fact that it does and so much more is because it is truly a joy to watch and a film that will be talked about years from now. If you read no further than this then all I could ask is that you get along to your local cinema and watch this as it was intended on the big screen.
Mia (Emma Stone) is a struggling actress who dreams of being a movie star. Seb (Ryan Gosling) is a struggling musician who dreams of being a jazz club owner. When their paths continue to cross they start to fall in love and the magic of romance and the romance of trying to follow your dream unfold.
Opening with a truly bravura musical number on a gridlocked freeway where the camera soars and pans in seemingly one cut the film repeatedly uses stunning technical feats woven into a story that takes in a passion for cinema and jazz. Much of the film itself conveys this passion in its homages to musical cinema of old via its credits and musical sequences. The songs and overall tone are melancholy and hopelessly romantic with the leitmotif featured throughout both impossibly sad and lovely. Stone and Gosling both do a fantastic job singing and dancing their way through some memorable moments.
Writer/director Damien Chazelle who created the brilliant Whiplash as his debut clearly has a bright future. Although at this point he could not make another film and be talked about as a great film maker.