La La Land – Movie Review

“La La Land” is a Musical-Romantic-Drama-Comedy directed by Damien Chazelle, well known for his last Academy Award Nominated Musical Drama, ”Whiplash”. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone play the lead roles while leading BillBoard Recording artist John Legend and J.K. Simmons make cameos. The director of photography is Linus Sangren, who had his brilliance showcased in “American Hustle”.

The movie must be rated as “Exceptionally Good” , for engaging the audience with the feel of musical drama and comedy throughout.

What can I say about this movie? Where should I start ? The screenplay? The cinematography with the Cinemascope? The direction? The Music? Let me calm down first!

So, this is my honest opinion/view of this movie in a spoiler free manner.

My initial expectations on this movie were really high because, “Whiplash” was one of my all-time favourites. Nominated for fourteen Academy awards including the Best Picture, Ryan for Best Actor, Emma for Best Actress and Damien for Best Director with seven ‘record breaking’ Golden Globes in all categories seemed to increase my excitement “a little“?! Hmph! I was pumped!

Lets start with the captain of the ship, Damien Chazelle. His work on screenplay was ready by 2010 but unfortunately, he never got a chance until now to exhibit it in the sets due to his financial situations. He has simply nailed the direction. His way of expressing the feel to the viewers could not have been emphasized better. The continuous shots were so soft. The first song choreographed uninterruptedly was a brilliant way of giving a great first impression to the viewers about the movie. The movie is taken in a choreographed manner as in theater arts. They should’ve rehearsed really, repeatedly, hard!

Secondly, Linus has done an amazing job with the cinematography. He has played with the lights and colors in a heart warming way. He fired the skills of blowing lights in the right way and pushed the ‘light-men’ to fly across the sets. Watch the movie to feel how ‘light-men’ jump from one end to the other! The fast cuts between the scenes of ‘point and shoot at main object’ view, were amazing and the continuity in the long shots were perfectly managed by him.

Editors have  just cut the shot and placed it in the right manner with smooth soothing  transitions. Do you think that’s easy? No. But, the editors in this movie are not editors. They are bots of the “human mind of Mr. Chazelle“! Tom Cross made the editing session for the whole movie. This would be a great boost to his career and it could drive his car above the skies. The long, continuous shots were perfectly placed in the mood. A big round of applause for the perfect cuts in the final 10 minutes of the movie.

Now, to the hero, Ryan Gosling of The Notebook fame. His smile at the end of the film was astounding! His acting all over the movie was “kind of nice” delivering a realistic performance! Ryan Goslings’s musical skills were tremendously portrayed by Chazelle. Oh, yeah, he is a musician, too! His expressions and tap dancing abilities were politely executed in a grand manner. Does he deserve an Academy award for this performance? Or will he be made to toil, like DiCaprio?

Her second time at the Academy awards after “The Birdman”, Emma Stone was a beauty to watch. The auditions in the movie were so real and the aesthetics of her being in love, even after a terrible breakdown makes every member of the audience fall in love with her. She was nominated for the ‘Best Supporting Actress’ in earlier Academy Awards function. That was a dark-comedy where she potrayed the drug-addict. Here, she’s a lover-actress who wants to hop on to the stage to earn applause. She made immense justice to her character. Ryan and Emma share great chemistry on screen throughout.

I would fail in my duties if I don’t give a huge a round of applause for the music composer, Justin Hurwitz. Well, I have no better option than to download all the Original Soundtracks from the movie and start listening to it, again. He has connected with the film on an interstitial level. He is the man behind “Whiplash” as well. No wonder why Damien and Justin are the A-Team!

A special mention to the last ten minutes of the movie. I would personally watch the movie all over again to relive those moments.

This movie deserves a much more detailed review. It deserves critical appreciation. It deserves all the Academy Award Nominations. It is a beautiful melancholy. It is a better love story than Twilight!

I am still in “La La Land”. 

Reviewed by Varun Sekar,a film enthusiast and a second year student of Automobile Engineering