Is La La Land the joyous film that movie fans need so desperately in 2016? Yes and no. It sure is filled to the brim with intricately choreographed song and dance sequences. All of which are set to music either about love, loving life, or wanting to make your situation better. But it by no means is pure fluff. This movie has a clear message and the characters go through good times and bad. It’s not a pure injection of happiness. It is simply amazing. Damien Chazelle feels unleashed in this film. The same painstakingly detailed film-making that blew audiences away in Whiplash is still here but the almost painful tension is instead replaced by a celebration of love.
Both of the leads are up to the unique tasks asked of them here. Emma Stone is as radiant as ever, capturing the mix of hope and hopelessness that comes along with pursuing a career in Hollywood. Ryan Gosling, who apparently learned to play all of these songs, is perfect. He might be the coolest guy on the planet.
Apart from the spectacle there really is a message here. La La Land is about two old forms of art that are in a period of flux right now. The film industry as well as the Jazz scene are feeling the need to evolve in order to stay relevant. In a way, the love that these characters feel for each other is feeling that same strain. We might not agree with the decisions that these characters make, but it all makes sense. The film borrows from the past to show you the future.
Starring: Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone
Runtime: 2h 8m