La La Land

"Extraordinary"

La La Land Review


After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something even better: an original movie musical that is shamelessly enjoyable. It somehow manages to be a feel-good triumph as well as a darkly honest exploration of the quest for fame and romance in Los Angeles. And with fantastic songs, colourful choreography and already iconic performances from Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, this is pure cinematic joy.

It opens in a traffic jam on a warm winter's day, where aspiring actress Mia (Stone) first encounters struggling jazz musician Sebastian (Gosling). They meet a couple more times before they begin to share the troubles they are facing trying to make their dreams come true. As romance blossoms, Mia urges Sebastian to go for his passion project to create a proper jazz bar, while Sebastian supports Mia's attempt to write a one-woman show to display her talents. But there are huge pressures to endure and obstacles to overcome as this city pushes them to compromise.

Chazelle establishes the film's musical tone from the opening moment, a breathtaking single-take full-on musical number on a freeway flyover. And the movie only gets better from there, deepening the two central characters as every scene is packed with hilarious comedy, honest romance and wrenching drama. Gosling and especially Stone are perfect in these roles, drawing on their already established chemistry as they add singing and dancing to their repertoires.

Chazelle captures their performances in long, complicated takes that swirl around to beautifully reveal the settings, from the glittering Hollywood Hills to the studio backlot where Mia works as a barista. This is bravura filmmaking that keeps a smile on the viewer's face and isn't afraid to draw a tear as well. It's funny, sexy and involving, crackling with energy and bursting with Mia and Sebastian's artistic yearning, and it mixes real-world hope with colourful flights of fancy.

So the film manages to somehow be frothy and fun as well as gritty and thoughtful. And its message is that life should be lived improvisationally, like a jazz song, making the most of whatever is thrown at you and perhaps ending up somewhere you never expected to be. Chazelle is of course also celebrating the magic of Hollywood in a genre that has been neglected in recent years. He proves that original movie musicals can be contemporary and real, with earthy realism and bittersweet emotions. But of course they're also full of wonder and unexpected delights. And they're the kinds of movies that we want to watch over and over again.

Watch the trailer for La La Land:



La La Land

Facts and Figures

Genre: Musical

Run time: 128 mins

In Theaters: Friday 16th December 2016

Box Office USA: $13,634,419.00

Distributed by: Liongate Films

Production compaines: Marc Platt Productions, Gilbert Films, Black Label Media, Impostor Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Fresh: 235 Rotten: 19

IMDB: 8.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Damien Chazelle

Producer: Fred Berger, , Jordan Horowitz,

Starring: as Sebastian, as Mia Dolan, as Keith, as Laura, J.K. Simmons as Boss, as Greg, as David, Meagen Fay as Mia's Mom, Damon Gupton as Harry, as Carlo, Jessica Rothe as Alexis, Sonoya Mizuno as Caitlin, Callie Hernandez as Tracy, as Josh, Anna Chazelle as Sarah, Hemky Madera as Jimmy, Zoë Hall as Chelsea, Dempsey Pappion as Charles, Nicole Coulon as Josh's Fiance, Claudine Claudio as Karen, Olivia Hamilton as Bree, Ashley Caple as The Beautiful Butterfly, Cameron Brinkman as Jazz Club Patron (uncredited), Sandra Rosko as Dream Audience, Candice Coke as Traffic Dancer - Girl #2, as Photographer, Trevor Lissauer as Valet, Morgan Larson as Party Dancer, David Douglas as Ty the Radio DJ, Kiff VandenHeuvel as New Coffee Shop Manager, Ana Flavia Gavlak as Young Actress (uncredited), Kaye L. Morris as Producer's Girlfriend (uncredited), Courtney Hart as Hollywood Starlet (uncredited), Andres Perez-Molina as Coffee Shop Customer (uncredited), Nilla Elizabeth Watkins as Coffee Shop Customer (uncredited), Holly Houk as Kissing Couple (uncredited), Kristin Slaysman as Coffee Shop Customer (uncredited), Anna Lunberry as Publicist (uncredited), Caroline Jaden Stussi as Espresso Coffee Shop Customer (uncredited), Cindera Che as Traffic NPR Radio, Jordan Ray Fox as Nathan (uncredited), Phillip E. Walker as Jazz Club Patron (uncredited), Margaret Newborn as Jazz Club Goer (uncredited), Crystal Nichol as Audition Actress (uncredited), Nadia Tumanova as Club Patron (uncredited), Terry Walters as Coffee Shop Manager, Kc Monnie as Dancer, Milica Govich as Coffee Shop Customer #2 (uncredited), D.A. Wallach as 80's singer, Kristin Elliott as Audition Actress #3 (uncredited), Andrea Lareo as Casting Assistant (uncredited), Christopher Aber as Cowboy (uncredited), Shannon Leann as Hollywood Starlet (uncredited), Jenna Curtis as Waitress (uncredited), Noah James as Young Man (uncredited), Tommy Cooley as Kissing Couple (uncredited), Damian Gomez as Traffic Guy 2, Anthony Marciona as Gas Station Attendant, Corrin Evans as New Barista, Jeremy Nathan Tisser as Freeway Truck Musician (uncredited), Chris Moss as Traffic Dancer, Amiée Conn as Famous Actress, Patty Tobin as Casting Director (uncredited), Heather Turman as Young Man's Date (uncredited), Cinda Adams as Casting Director, Susie Ganiere as Jazz Club Patron (uncredited), Ottavio Taddei as Swing Dancer (uncredited), Morgan Cohen as Kissing Couple (uncredited), April Martucci as Audition Girl (uncredited), Nicole Wolf as Amy Brandt's Assistant, Trent Kerpsack as Sailor (uncredited), Lynn Moore as Jazz Club Patron (uncredited), Vince Donvito as Coffee Guy (uncredited), Steffen Dziczek as Moviegoer (uncredited), Melvin LaThomas Brimm as Waiter (uncredited), Kelly Kennedy as Bubblegum Girl (uncredited), Jesse Houk as Kissing Couple (uncredited), Clarence Robinson as Lighthouse Bass Player (uncredited), Dapo Torimiro as Jazz Club Guitar Player (uncredited), Bobo Chang as Bobo (uncredited), Destinee Handly as Barista (uncredited), Frederick Keeve as Restaurant Patron (uncredited), Tommy Otis as Extra - Robert Evans (uncredited), Robert Haynes as Angry Neighbor, Amanda Fields as Red Head Actress (uncredited)

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