The larger than life glamorous movie musical was once a staple in Hollywood, but times have changed in the 21st Century. Sure we’ve had a few standout Musicals like Chicago, Les Miserables and Into the Woods that had critical and box office success yet quality musicals are still few and far in between in a cinema landscape dominated by superheroes and Star Wars. Sometimes though an exceptional experience gets created and makes the wait worth it for fans who miss the grand Hollywood Musical. That special film this year is Damien Chazelle’s La La Land.
Set in Los Angeles, La La Land is a modern-day musical about entertainers struggling to make it in the city while balancing career, expectations and love. Starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, the film is a love story about a barista/struggling actress named Mia (Stone) who falls for handsome Jazz musician Sebastian who can’t seem to hold down a steady job in the industry despite having enormous talent. Gosling and Stone show tremendous chemistry together as two unlikely lovers who deal with the ups and downs of their relationship and the fame they both are trying to gain. Stone, Gosling and the rest of the cast get to show off their range of talents singing and dancing in the Hollywood Hills, the Griffith Observatory and even on a gridlocked LA freeway.
Even though must people don’t break out in song and dance to convey their emotions in everyday life, Gosling and Stone bring Mia and Sebastian’s relationship to life. Their personal goals makes the couple totally relatable in La La Land as you wonder how you would react to their situations. Musicals can be tough sell to today’s audiences, but Chazelle’s film is a pure delight and you’re cheating yourself if you dismiss this movie. La La Land contains some marvelous songs throughout the movie that will have you smiling from ear to ear. Through song and dance, Chazelle writes a love letter to Los Angeles and the dreamers that call the city home. The movie feels fresh by actually rehashing the past with a glitz and glam look and feel of the musicals of yesteryear. If it wasn’t for the cell phones and the present day smoggy Los Angeles landscape, La La Land looks like it could have been made in the 1950s.
La La Land showcases the amazing talents of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling as they not only entertain us with their voices and feet, but make you care about what happens to Mia and Sebastian’s relationship. The cinematography is gorgeous and the story is just as amazing leading up to the film’s emotional final number. La La Land is a musical love story with all the feels even if the drama plucks the heartstrings you weren’t expecting. Damien Chazelle delivers an amazing piece of work with La La Land and creates an instant classic with a unique spark thanks to the superb performances from Gosling and Stone.
Overall, I give La La Land 3.5 out of 4 stars.
Read all T.M.’s reviews here–>Entertainment Now with T.M. Powell