Movie Review – La La Land

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by Damien Chazelle

Charming and colourful…

‘A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles.’ (IMDb) (by Damien Chazelle, 128 min.)

This is one of the best films I’ve seen this year. I may not have seen a lot of them until now (start of february), but I can say with certainty, that this film will stay with me. Just as ‘Whiplash’ stayed with me and gives me chills everytime I watch it again or think about it… ‘La La Land’ makes me smile and tingly when I think about it. I left the theatre with a smile and with a little jump in my step, like I could take the world.

This film is a love letter. A love letter to the old musicals like ‘Singing in the Rain’, … A love letter to Hollywood, to the way they made movies back in the day. (Straight lines, camera use…) A love letter to dreamers, to Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling… A love letter to the world.

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Let’s start with the story. The movie begins with a dance number and there we get a first taste of the style of the movie. It’s full of colour, of fun camera moves, but still a stylised way of filming. At the end of it we’re introduced to the two main characters: Emma Stone’s Mia and Ryan Gosling as Sebastian. Two dreamers, wishing for a career in the old city of Dreams.

Mia tries to break through as an actress, but has to juggle working as a barista while going to auditions (where she keeps being rejected). Sebastian is stuck in the world of Jazz and dreams of opening his own bar where everybody is free to play the more pure jazz he is so in love with. They meet and start to fall in love. And here I will stop, well, because of spoilers.

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If you watch the movie, yes, the story is kind of straightforward. Boy and girl meet, they are both dreamers, they fall in love and story continues from there. But the way it was brought felt old and new at the same time. It felt retro because you could see and feel all kinds of references to other movies. But it also feels new and refreshing because of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. And the music! The music was fabulous, uplifting and it sticks. I’ve been singing ‘City of Stars’ and ‘Another Day of Sun’ for days and I’m a terrible singer. My colleagues hate me a little right now. ^^

if there is one thing I would say about this little gem is that I did feel that the third part of the movie dragged on for a little bit. The story kind of got stuck in a certain point a bit less colorful. And that’s the only ‘negative’ thing I can think of and it’s a part of the story we have to get through to get to the end and feel the full impact of the story, if you really think about it. So in the end it didn’t really take away from the enjoyment I had from the movie. It was a minor thing.

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It’s a perfect mixture of colour, uplifting music, beautiful performances of two brilliant actors and you feel the love Damien Chazelle has for movies, musicals, Hollywood and this story.

9 out of 10 stars !!

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