A La La late review to the party
By Daniel Wright
First let’s get this out of the way: I love La La Land and hope it wins almost every award it has been nominated for at the Oscars (let’s give Lin Manuel-Miranda best song ok?).
Playing out over the four seasons in a delightfully retro fashion, the film tells the story of two people living in LA and having remarkably similar, and perhaps clichéd, stories of repeated failure in their chosen careers paths. Seb (Ryan Gosling) is a pianist and aspiring Jazz club owner who meets similarly aspiring actress Mia (Emma Stone) who currently works as a barista but frequently auditions for a variety of roles that show off Stone’s comedic talent. The two inevitably fall in well-choreographed and musically backed love and the film presents this to the audience in gorgeous splashes of colour – an appreciated change from the usual drab beige of many films – and a well-written script that is a joy to behold.
As some here at Air3 will attest, La La Land is a musical for those who might not like musicals, as well as those who do. The musical numbers are predominantly upbeat, jazz performances that scream out to be hummed and half-sang long after a viewing of the film. The opening ‘Another Day of Sun’ and the duet ‘A Lovely Night’ stand out among a soundtrack which also contains the foot-tapping fusion ‘Start A Fire’ (by the excellent John Legend who does a good job of keeping up with the leads), the heartbreakingly beautiful ‘The Fools Who Dream’, as well as ‘City of Stars’ which appears to be tipped for awards galore in spite of not being the movie’s strongest song in my opinion.
Directed by the award-winning Damien Chazelle – the film definitely reminds me of Whiplash in its style and obvious passion – La La Land is an absolute triumph from its gloriously cheery opening to its stand-out end sequence which deserves awards all of its own. In spite of some problems surrounding its plot possibly dragging in the middle and the latter third lacking in the catchy musical numbers that you wait for, the leads ooze charisma and have a believable and entrancing chemistry together that, while not solely carrying the film – the score and cinematography manage that – make La La Land a must watch for anyone desiring THE feel-good film in a predominantly serious season.
For more films and shows like La La Land, check out the Macrobert Arts Centre’s website.