Sunday, 14 May 2017

La La Land (2016) - Film Review


*Originally written January 12th, 2017*

I'll put it out there, I'm not a fan of musicals or even jazz music, but I did love Damien Chazelle's previous film 'Whiplash'. I also love Ryan Golsing and Emma Stone, so I was looking forward to this, and it exceeded those expectations by an insane amount. La La Land is one of the most beautiful, electric and emotional experiences I've ever had from a film. I don't want to hyperbole, but this might be one of the greatest films I've ever seen. I know it's only January 12th, but I really can't see much else topping this as my film of the year of 2017.

This was clearly made by someone who loves his craft, Chazelle really has a love for jazz and all things nostalgic, which shows. The music is great, the set design is wonderful. It creates this feeling of a classic film set in the '50s, despite being set in the modern day. It's a strange combo that works. Remove smartphones and the internet from La La Land, apply a black and white filter and this could easily be made in the '50s. That's not a knock.

A Lovely Night
Everything in this film is so beautiful. The direction is pure precision. Chazelle creates an electric film packed full of emotion and heart. It's a film aimed at people to follow their dreams and it was perfect. It made me want to pursue and be passionate about what I love and never give up. This is the sort of film that makes me want to be a filmmaker, if I wasn't so damn lazy.

At the centre this is a love story between a jazz pianist and an actress trying to achieve their dreams in LA. Both Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are seriously amazing, my favourite film of all-time is Drive, but I think Gosling gives the best performance of his career. Much to my surprise though, despite both being amazing, I found Stone to outmatch Gosling most of the time, especially in the musical numbers. Stone has a much better singing voice than Gosling, which isn't a problem considering most of his stuff is based on his amazing piano skills.

Despite looking like a bright and colourful film, the film does take some really emotional turns that lead to a heartbreaking and bittersweet ending that hit all the right notes. We see Gosling and Stone's relationship start to fracture as they realize the compromises they have have to make in order to achieve their dreams or whether or not you should even follow your dream.

City of Stars
As a musical, aside from the opening scene which had me a little worried, everything after that was memorable and made me want to listen to it all day long. There was an insane amount of talent that came to making some of the music here, especially 'City of Stars' and 'The Fools Who Dream' which were easily my highlights. There's also a great scene of some '80s music that I didn't expect, but I loved it.

La La Land was pure magic, a sense of wonder and passion that I've not seen from a film in a long time. Beautifully directed, powerful and endlessy memorable. One of the greatest films of all-time.

10/10 Dans

La La Land is out May 15th on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD now in the UK
Watch the trailer below:

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