La La Land Review

La La Land
  • Directing8
  • Writing7
  • Acting8.5

Damien Chazelle's La La Land is a joyous celebration of chasing dreams, bursting with love and filled with heart and soul. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling elevate Chazelle's script in magical ways, making for a memorable film.

Damien Chazelle‘s La La Land is storming the Fall movie season and (mostly) rightfully so, because it is a joyous film that’s both infectious and enthralling. From its toe-tapping musical numbers to its soulful and honest performances — La La Land is just the type of film that will surely earn many Oscar nods.

I walked into La La Land with somewhat high expectations. I missed several opportunities to see the film before and now absolutely everyone has seen it and reacted strongly, which naturally put me in an uneasy mood.

But I walked out of the film with a smile on my face, applauding writer/director Damien Chazelle for what he has accomplished with La La Land.

For starters, he’s made one of the only “musicals” that I can actually stomach. I’ve never cared for music infused into my films on a singing or performing level, although I can appreciate the art behind such motives. Generally, I feel that musicals are off-putting and literally take me out of a moment in a movie or a film entirely, but La La Land manages to be different, sucking me in with each new song.

That’s because Chazelle wisely infuses his story with music, surrounding each and every character and moment in song and dance in a way that feels natural and subdued. The film’s intro didn’t quite work for me, but the film certainly grew on me as the minutes passed and the characters got their proper introductions.

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone cement themselves as an on-screen couple that I’d love to see more of, with chemistry that is unmatched and so damn convincing. You know where the film is going, yet you can’t help but to keep watching as these two paint a beautiful picture of romance and friendship.

Their entire relationship carries the film, even through its lesser moments. Finally, a couple that doesn’t have to follow every single stereotype in the books. I don’t exactly want to spoil the film’s meatier moments, but I will say that I found its approach to their relationship refreshing and much-needed for this type of story.

Damien Chazelle‘s strengths as a filmmaker lie in his ability to capture such love and kindness in a way that’s optimistic, yet unafraid. La La Land follows both Gosling and Stone’s characters as they struggle accomplishing their dreams, while they also learn just what it means to be a dreamer and how important it is to chase.

There’s compromise yes, but there’s never that loss of focus, which drives you and those around you to not just be better actors or musicians, but better people. Chazelle grabs that idea and expands on it in a way that is so kind-hearted and lovable.

Did I absolutely love La La Land with all of my heart? Not exactly. Is La La Land one of the best movies of the year? Most certainly not. But La La Land is a memorable film that rarely fails to express its colorful characters and showcase a director with a truly unique vision.

The writing takes its sweet time during the middle act, but there’s some end-of-the-movie magic that really helps make up for the film’s weaker moments. Chazelle also does an excellent job pacing out the music and dropping it in when perfectly appropriate, which is more than I can say for most musicals.

Watching La La Land really is an experience that you must go all-in on. A friend of mine told me beforehand that I really had to give myself to the movie from the get-go or else it just wasn’t going to click and he was right; La La Land is a film that you must fully invest in and if you do then you just might be surprised by how much enjoyment you’ll get from it.

It’s not for everyone and it’s not a strong enough contender for me to throw it in my top ten films of the year list (which is coming soon), but it’s a good film that I’m glad I managed to see on the big screen.

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