Review: La La Land (2017)

With La La Land sweeping a massive seven prizes at the Golden Globes last week, and being nominated for eleven BAFTA’s, the stakes are high for this Hollywood musical to live up to expectations.

Against the backdrop of Hollywood, we meet aspiring actress Mia (Emma Stone) and struggling Jazz musician Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), both trying to make ends meet in the “city of stars”. The city could make or break them, and they have to decide what is more important – success, or their hearts.

The film opens on a highway, with a big musical number and a cacophony of colour and that sets the tone for the whole movie. The modern LA/Hollywood setting pays homage to some of the greats, like Singing in the Rain, with big dance numbers and quite possibly the director Damien Chazelle’s love letter to the dreamlike Hollywood of the sixties.

Packed full of colour, optimism and a well balanced performance from Stone and Gosling, as two incredibly passionate people who help each other find that spark which could light them up. Mia wants a break, and Sebastian wants his own Jazz club. They are dreamers in a city of dreamers – dreaming together.

It’s a little cheesy at places, but what musical isn’t? I think it’s part of the parcel of the genre! Big tap dance sequences and romantic waltzs whilst being both delightfully retro and wonderfully modern. It was a hugely feel good movie, and made the better for the connection, the emotions between Stone and Gosling, as they are struggling through trying to find what is right for them.

The music is foot-tapping and so goddam catchy, ranging from the upbeat and spin worthy to the hauntingly melodic City of Stars (That won’t leave my head. Still. Some days later.). Be prepared to have your heartstrings played, as sacrifices are made for dreams. It is almost as if Hollywood itself, the ethos, the place, the city – it’s almost as if Hollywood is a character in itself. Did someone check the credits? Is it listed?

This movie certainly deserved the scope of awards – it was a musical homage to the bygone days of Hollywood, wonderfully written with a fantastic score and brilliant choreography bought to life by Stone and Gosling’s amazing portrayal of love and sacrifice.

So, bravo! I certainly enjoyed it and I think the packed cinema screen did too! There was singing, dancing, romance, dreams, hope, optimism, determination, laugh-out-loud moments, Hollywood stereotypes – it was a full works show!

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