La La Land Review: A Dazzling Trip Down Memory Lane

Updated on October 30, 2017
Ross Tanenbaum profile image

Ross is a student at the University of Maryland. He is planning on majoring in Film Studies and English.

Source

Musicals have become a dying genre in modern film. Studios have not been releasing as many musicals as they used to. They have lost faith in their ability to bring them big box office numbers. This film shows why musicals deserve to have more investment from studios.

Plot

La La Land is a new musical from director Damien Chazelle, also famous for Whiplash. The story focuses on two artists who are trying to make it big in present day Hollywood. Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress, and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a jazz pianist who dreams of opening his own club, both deal with the ups and downs of working in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles. Through chance encounters, Mia and Sebastain slowly start to fall in love.

Characters

Both Gosling and Stone deliver award-worthy performances. Stone is someone who is so passionate about her acting, yet is having doubts after being denied by many auditions. Stone not only gives great emotion throughout the movie, but she also proves that she can handle all of the musical numbers within the film.

Gosling plays a character who loves jazz and wants to bring a comeback of classic jazz. He does a great job at convincing the audience that his character is incredibly passionate about his art. He also is good as the comic relief throughout the movie and does a great job in the musical sequences. Stone and Gosling both have great chemistry in the movie. This is their third movie where they play the romantic interests of one another and they work off one another very well. John Legend also makes a cameo in the movie and while he does not say much he has a fantastic song in the film.

Direction

While Gosling and Stone are the main characters, the star of the movie has to be Chazelle's directing. This is the best directed movie I've seen in 2016. Every shot in this movie is beautiful. The opening sequence in this film is absolutely breathtaking. It shows a musical number that breaks out in the middle of a traffic jam on the highways of Los Angeles. However, the scene is one long tracking shot and makes it appear as though the scene was done with one long take. Another technique that Chazelle did that was great was what he did with the lighting. Anytime Chazelle wants the audience to focus on a certain character, he dims the lights around the character so that only they can be seen. The technique may be a little overused but it does add a lot to the film.

Another great thing about La La Land is they way that the film feels as though it was made in the 50's but it remains in present day. The film has elements that are only found in present day but a lot of the musical sequences are reminiscent of scenes that could be found in classic musicals such as Singin in the Rain. This can be attributed to the music in the film.

Music

Justin Hurwitz composed the music for La La Land and it is beautiful. There are certain sequences in this film where there is no dialogue for a while but the music is so captivating that you would rather listen to the music alone than hear the characters talk. However, a problem with this is that the musical score is much better than the actual songs. The songs in this movie are good, but not great. I did not find myself really remembering any specific songs that got my attention. The best song is probably "Audition (The Fools Who Dream)" but I've heard much better in other musicals.

Flaws

One problem I had with this film is that some of the sequences go on for a little bit too long. There is a scene in a planetarium and a montage segment towards the end that both go on for a while. They are still entertaining but they got a little repetitive. Towards the end of the movie, I thought the movie was over like ten times but it still kept going. However, both of the problems I had with this movie are very minor and really did not impact the overall experience I had with this movie.

Final Thoughts

La La Land is a truly great musical that also serves as a nice love letter to Hollywood and the dreams that can come true but also the heartbreak that can come with it. It is an expertly directed film with a truly memorable score and two stand out performances. It serves tribute to all of those who have experienced the struggles and the successes of the city of angels.

Rating: 9/10

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      11 months ago from Norfolk, England

      Interesting article. I've not got round to seeing this yet, but wouldn't mind.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://reelrundown.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)