Not the typical romantic musical?
“La La Land” is directed by Damien Chazelle and it is a modern rendition of a musical in which two artists who are in pursue of their dreams fall in love. Firstly, this is a stylistic film; everything starting from camera work to set pieces is done with a great deal of attention to details and this can be observed especially in the singing and dancing scenes. Chazelle is known for making films in which music plays a substantial role and, from a directorial point of view, this film is flawless.
In my opinion, the film shines because of its masterful direction, great acting and inspiring score, but besides this, its biggest strength lies in the message behind all of these. It’s a story about life and the choices one has to make in order to obtain happiness, in whatever form this may take. At its core, this film teaches a very important lesson about dreams and passion, two terms which cannot exist one without the other. “La La Land” does all of these by incorporating an entertaining musical aspect, which works in a way that actually helps the continuity of the story, rather than just ending up being annoying.
The story revolves around the relationship between a piano player (Ryan Gosling) and an aspiring actress (Emma Stone) and more specifically, on how they learn to respect each other’s dreams. Stone and Gosling work magic together; the chemistry between them is one that is rare to find nowadays. Both of them feature some of their best work (especially Stone in one scene in particular), but with all that in mind, there are no new acting grounds broken in here. Although the performances are really good, neither of them leaves their comfort zone and does something completely different than what they are usually expected to do. They mostly get through this film because they have charisma and a good screen presence. However though, their characters were structured in this way just to make them more relatable to the main themes presented in the picture.
This is one of the best musicals ever made because its main focus is adapted to modern issues of today’s generation. Everything just blends so well together and the result is a very entertaining cinematic experience, one which you can so rarely encounter in this day and age. The opening shot illustrates a big musical number; its aim is to set up the atmosphere for the events to come. There are some memorable songs placed throughout the film; only by listening to one of them, certain feelings can almost immediately be felt. The ending represents my favourite part of the film as it presents nothing short of a twenty minutes-montage of untypical and risky choices made by the filmmakers in order to give this story its rightful closure (but I will not go on and spoil it for you).
In the end, “La La Land” is an experimental film, one that tries to incorporate so many different elements and somehow manages to succeed in every single way. It is an ode to films, to music, to love. Although this film has a special place in my heart, I have to be objective and say that even though every aspect of the film is impeccably realised, as a whole it is not perfect. However, this does not holds back the picture from its title as a modern masterpiece.