An inspiring story that gets out shined by the amazing direction of Damien Chazelle.
“LA LA LAND” the film everyone is talking about this Oscar season is directed by Damien Chazelle and stars; Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, J.K. Simmons and Rosemarie DeWitt. The story follows Sebastian an aspiring jazz musician, and Mia and aspiring actress, as they deal with the hardships of coming up in Hollywood, finding love, and the issues that come from finding success in the business.
Now I will be the first to admit that musicals are not really my cup of tea. Neither are love-stories for that matter, but when dome properly I can enjoy them when done right. This was a mix of both so I was slightly apprehensive in seeing this film but with the massive amounts of praise and awards talk I was more curious than anything.
After watching I will admit that both Gosling and Stone were excellent in their performances and both pour themselves into the characters. But the true star of this film was director Damien Chazelle. He created such an elegant film that captures perfect lighting and choreography to pull the viewer into the setting of the story. Chazelle’s direction was simple at times, intricate in others, and blended with some long seamless shots and slow camera pans he crafts a film that should earn him an Academy Award.
The musical orchestration, choreography, wardrobes and set-design were all top-notch and create a vibrant pallet for quite honestly, a simple story. One that was filled with some great performances and a nice blend of drama and simple comedic moments to create a nice flow throughout the long run-time.
Gosling and Stone were great, it was clear they put in a lot of work to make their characters feel legitimate. Gosling felt like a real musician and Stone captured effortlessly the struggles of trying to be an actress in Hollywood. They had a great chemistry with one another that sell their love story, but it was not groundbreaking. When the music wasn’t playing this did feel like a simple story, with scenarios that both Gosling and Stone have dome similarly many times before. But it was nothing that hindered the enjoyment.
To me the film was a little long winded and did feel like a celebration of Hollywood patting itself on the back given the high amounts nominations this one has. I will not say they are not deserving because this film was a work of art on many levels with so much quality that you have to admire.
It just wasn’t the groundbreaking film I was expecting, although it was a very good one. Just not one I will ever care to watch again because while it was a good musical, and a decent story, without the direction of Chazelle, this one would not be as impactful regardless of Gosling and Stone’s presence.
Time: 128 min
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (For some language)