Director: Damien Chazelle
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone
If you wish to watch a film that’s both entertaining and heart-warming this weekend, La La Land is the right choice. It’ll probably end up being one of the most beautiful cinematic experiences of your life – not the ones you watch but the ones you sing and dance your way through. Damien Chazelle’s musical blends Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone’s powerful on-screen presence, unparalleled chemistry with relatable words to have an impact on you – which will very much stay with you even when you move out of the theatres.
Ryan Gosling plays Sebastian, a struggling Jazz pianist and Emma Stone is Mia, an aspiring actress who works as a cashier in a coffee shop. The two of them, struggling in their respective lives, find their way into each other – post some bittersweet encounters - in the picturesque city of Los Angeles.
The romance in La La Land is not the usual done-to-death depiction but a fine and nuanced portrayal of old-school romance. A woman twirls in a yellow dress, a man charms his way with one hand in his trouser’s pocket, they romance each other by tap dancing on a park bench and both of them take a walk amid stars – literally. It’s the kind of romance that will take you in – with every expression, every move and every song – the two of them paint a beautiful picture as their raw emotions takes over the screen. Damien Chazelle made it clear that he knows what love is when his film ‘Whiplash’ bagged the Oscars but this time he leaves no stone unturned to bring to life the dying era of hopeless romanticism. The director has also divided the movie in seasons – Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter – hinting at the various stages of their relationship. The makers have swiftly embroidered the romance and the undying passion for jazz in its running time. It’s interesting to see the characters yearning for the resurgence of jazz music - something we haven't seen in a long time.
It’s the third time Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone feature in a movie together following ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’ and ‘Gangster Squad’ and weave magic like no other. While Ryan’s inevitable charisma makes it hard for you to concentrate on other aspects, Stone’s bewildering performances takes the cake. She outshines Ryan in a lot of scenes – which is not a very easy thing to do – and makes you feel for her character and her struggles.
Linus Sandgren’s cinematography is one of the key elements in making the film a magical experience that it is. If the actors give Damien’s story a heart, Linus’ bright hues, resplendent shots and the perfect angles give it the soul. With the song ‘Another Day Of Sun’ in the opening sequence, you know you’ve landed at the right place.
For a generation that has probably been devoid of fine musicals, this one comes as a breath of fresh air. The movie buffs who’ve an inclination towards this kind of artistic cinema will fall in love with Damien’s work instantaneously for the simple reason that it sweeps you into a dreamy world of romance and makes you feel nostalgic for Hollywood’s bygone era. La La Land reveals as much as it conceals – has just the right mix of realism and imagination.