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La La Land

La La Land: A Golden Homage to the Golden Age

  • Amiée ConnEmma Stone...
  • ComedyDrama...
  • Damien Chazelle
reviewed by
Marija Loncarevic
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La La Land: A Golden Homage to the Golden Age

It’s almost impossible not to fall in love with Damien Chazelle’s musical masterpiece La La Land. Following his work in the wonderfully dynamic and electrifyingly intense Whiplash, the young director pulls all of the stops once again, taking us on a whimsical journey of music, love and broken dreams in one of the most unique and memorable stories to come out of Hollywood this year.

Set in Los Angeles, the story follows aspiring actress, Mia (Stone), who, when not working as a barista on the Warner Bros. studios lot, is busy battling her way through a series of embarrassing and unsuccessful auditions for whatever acting job she comes across. After a night out with the girls, Mia meets Sebastian (Gosling); a struggling but passionate jazz pianist who dreams of opening his own club one day, but finds himself stuck in a creative rut and struggles to make ends meet by taking on a series of uninspiring gigs at restaurants.  

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Their initial meet wasn’t full of sparks, though over time, the pair slowly begins developing a close blond with one another, connecting through their mutual love of the creative art form and their yet-to-be-fulfilled passions and dreams. However, their romance is soon shaken when the pair begins experiencing mixed success, leaving the two wondering whether their love can co-exist with their respective ambitions.

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Opening with a 1950s-style Summit Entertainment logo and a catchy musical number about the slog of LA traffic, Chazelle wastes no time in setting the tone for La La Land. Playing out as a celebratory homage to Hollywood’s Golden Age, there’s a wonderful mix of old and new to be found throughout the never-labouring 128 minutes and watching Mia and Sebastian finding their way to one another is engaging, satisfying and maybe even inspiring.

Full of heart and magic, the song and dance interludes are wonderfully and flawlessly interlaced into the storyline with Chazelle finding a lovely balance between fantasy and reality, while never compromising the quality of either.

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Adding to the overall success are two great actors who have managed to power through a list of challenges; Emma Stone had to learn ballroom dancing and Gosling had to learn how to play a piano in order to bring their characters to life – and bring them to life they do. Both are outstanding and deliver their characters with great ease and while Gosling is his usual unhurriedly charming self, it’s Miss Stone who offers an incredibly rich and layered performance and steals the show.

 Enchanting, magical and full of heart, La La Land has the power to sweep you off your feet – just don’t be afraid to let it.

Like This? Try

Whiplash (2014), Nine (2009), Moulin Rouge! (2001)

360 Tip

A tale of two musicals - Emma Watson turned down the role of Mia due to scheduling conflicts with Beauty & the Beast, while Ryan Gosling turned down the role of the Beast to appear in La La Land.

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