Studio:Summit Entertainment (Lionsgate)
MPAA Rating:PG-13 (for some language)
Starring:Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt, Finn Wittrock, Callie Hernandez, Sonoya Mizuno, Jessica Rothe, Tom Everett Scott, Josh Pence
Genre:Drama, Romance, Musical
[divider]This weekend theaters are going to be packed as moviegoers flock to see the latest spectacle of ‘Star Wars’ as ‘Rogue One’ is unleashed on the universe. Quietly opening in wide release alongside the intergalactic behemoth is a film that is the polar opposite of the bombastic space battles of the tent-pole film and quite possibly this year’s Best Picture, ‘La La Land.’
Starring Emma Stone as a plucky young actress trying to make her way in the city of dreams and Ryan Gosling as a talented jazz pianist who’s goal is to make sure that jazz doesn’t go extinct ‘La La Land’ brings these two together in a classic romantic crossing of paths that is surprising truthful and beautiful. Both of these actors deliver honest, touching performances and their chemistry on screen is delightful. La La Land is a classic Hollywood romance set in modern day Los Angeles. Director Damien Chazelle and Director of Photography Linus Sandgren have captured the spirit and romance of the Hollywood we used to see in the movies. Musicals are no longer the staple of Hollywood as they once were, and surely trying to sell anyone on this movie as a good idea must have been a struggle, but the genius of ‘La La Land’ is precisely this. By making ‘La La Land’ a musical Chazelle has managed to envelope his leads in a nostalgic dream-like world that reminds us why we all fell in love with Hollywood in the first place. The characters are dreamers, pursuing their passions and ‘living the dream.’ By casting their story into the realm of the musical, complete with chorus lines on the freeway and romps through technicolored sets on a studio backlot, we are transported into the lofty and dreamy aspirations of Stone and Gosling’s emotional journey. The very thing that makes this film a tough sell is the very thing that makes this film work on every level. Modern audiences may not be familiar with the traditional movie musical as recent efforts like ‘Burlesque’, ‘Chicago’ and ‘Moulin Rouge!’ all incorporated more glitz, glam, and an adrenaline fueled style of music, editing and choreography that often make those films a blur of indiscernible motion on screen. ‘La La Land’ pushes aside the overly polished, hyper activity of the modern musicals in favor of the traditional styles… dances and singing are shot with longer periods between cuts, dancing is simpler and sweet, the camera isn’t lost within the action of the set pieces but is allowed to sit back and be more of a casual observer again. The end result is a musical that is easily watchable, infinitely enjoyable and deliciously sweet.
‘La La Land’ is a love letter to classic Hollywood and a film that can’t be missed. ‘La La Land’ goes into wider release Dec. 16.