La La Land Review

By Aidan Halligan

La La Land stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, and is written and directed by Damien Chazelle.

The critical reception to this film has been more than stellar, but it is funny to see such a divide in opinions about the film from audiences around the world. There seems to be the opinions of either “it was a masterpiece” or “it was fine, but why are people hyping it up so much?”. I fall under the first category, and I think that this film is going to win Best Picture at this years Oscars.

La La Land does things that no film has done in years. Sure, at a first glance it looks like just another love story/musical between two people in LA, but underneath that bland facade, there is a masterly crafted work of art. What this film does so well can be seen in it’s filmmaking and storytelling. Every shot is beautiful and packed with visual gold, and each shot is skillfully lensed and keeps your focus on what is important, and Damien Chazelle’s direction is masterful, topping his work in Whiplash and cementing himself into film history as the youngest recipient for the Best Picture Academy Award.

The writing allows the viewer to relate to either of our characters in at least one distinct way. I personally have never found myself to be a fan of musicals, which is why this was so surprising, considering how much I like the film. What I liked is that it didn’t throw a musical song in your face every scene, but rather took time to develop the characters into people that you care about through the music and writing, as well as develop the relationship between our two main characters to a point where you feel like you are a part of this fictional story.

The music however, when present, is beautiful and charming at the same time, and actually develops the plot instead of being too flashy for the sake of being a musical number. After seeing the movie I instantly downloaded the soundtrack on Spotify, constantly listening to “Mia and Sebastian’s Theme”, as well as “City of Stars” over and over again. Noting again on how the music isn’t thrown on your face every scene, each song and musical number has an actual purpose. The opening number sets the scene and establishes that the voices aren’t that strong, as each character is supposed to be just an everyday person, not some musical and prodigy. Mia’s audition shows her progression as a character from a shy nobody to eventually a confident young actress giving strong auditions.

Also, one small thing that La La Land does so well is give homages to old filmmaking, like a transition consisting of neon night club signs, and the musical numbers paying homage to old musicals such as Singin in the Rain.

I implore you to see this movie, as I believe it is one of the most artistic films of the year, as well as one of the most well crafted films I have seen in a very long time. I am going to give La La Land a 5/5.