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La La Land (2016) Movie Review

Updated on November 30, 2019
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Casual Reader. More than a casual Movie/TV viewer. Writing here to just empty my head.

Source

Film Info

 
 
Director
Damien Chazelle
Writer
Damien Chazelle
Cast
Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt
Cinematography
Linus Sandgren
 
 
Music
Justin Hurwitz
Production
Summit Entertainment, Marc Platt Productions, Impostor Pictures, Gilbert Films
Language
English
Running time
128 minutes

Prologue

I am just a simple-minded fan of motion pictures. I am not a professional film critic or film student. I am literally, a 29-year-old, unemployed, keyboard warrior. So, if you care for movie critics' opinions or Academy Awards, and judge films on these metrics, you needn't read further, you'll obviously like this film. However, I would like to state that, even though the sense of entitlement and authority associated with both movie critics and awards is stupid, I still liked this film. It's important for me to clarify this so that I am not deemed just a contrarian for pointing out things I didn't like in this film.

Synopsis

Sebastian and Mia played by Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone respectively, are two people living in Los Angeles, pursuing their dreams. Sebastian is a hipster jazz musician and Mia is an aspiring actress. Both of them are trying to make it big in La La Land (Los Angeles). They keep running into each other and soon fall in love. But over time they have to make decisions to fulfill their dreams which creates ripples in their love.

Positives

  • Music: This film is a musical and thus music plays a big part in this film. However, I didn't like the whole album. But in this section, I will only discuss the tracks that I liked. I am a huge fan of background score in movies. Mia & Sebastian's Theme is possibly one of the best pieces of music to come out in the past few years. It is a beautiful romantic composition that I love listening to on loop. Don't take my word for it, listen to it yourself. The other musical piece that I really loved was the song, City of Stars, a sort of love song to Los Angeles.
  • Lead Pair Chemistry: Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone have incredible chemistry. We've known this for a while now because they've worked opposite each other before. But, there's something special about them in this movie. Their companionship feels magical.
  • Visuals: Visually, this film is stunning. For a sneak peek, just look at the poster at the top of this post. Notice the beauty of that picture with the purple color, the street lamp, the view of the city. Almost every scene in this film looks this good. The set designs, the costumes, the overall look of the film is beautiful and the colors are really rich.
  • Choreography: Like most musicals, this one does have a few dance routines. The choreography in all of them especially the ones with Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are really well done.
  • Ending: The ending is probably the best portion of this movie. It's really emotional and moving. It elevates the film above its premise. Even though it's not a typical romance ending, it certainly is a very romantic one.

Negatives

  • Some portions of the Music: I didn't really enjoy any song in the film that made me realize that it's a musical. Those songs took me out of the film. For e.g, the film begins with a song, Another Day of Sun. The song is shot really well, in a single take, but it doesn't really take the story forward or has any emotional connect. There are other such songs too.
  • A Hollywood Premise: I have a big problem with movies where Hollywood applauds itself. This film is a personification of that. The pretentious nature of the premise sometimes peeks at you. There's a song that Emma Stone sings at an audition. It's supposed to be an uplifting and inspirational song, but it just comes out as preachy and hokey. The good thing is, that, the romance is a big focus of this film and it can take you away from all that Hollywoody stuff.

Recommendation

I can recommend this film just for it's ending.

There's enough in this film that it will be worth your time

3 stars for La La Land

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