Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt, J.K Simmons, Finn Wittrock, Tom Everett Scott.
Gone are those halcyon days of cinema, where a leading man & lady would spontaneously burst into an intricately choreographed song & dance routine to swelling string arrangements, gone are the days of the likes of Fred & Ginger. Although, someone obviously didn’t tell Damien Chezelle, thank god! The man who brought us the incredible Whiplash takes his cues from the golden age of Hollywood for his latest offering.
Mia is an aspiring actress working in a coffee shop on a movie lot and holding on to the hope of making it in Hollywood. Seb is a pianist for hire, making a living playing background music in restaurants with the ambition of opening his own Jazz bar. By a series of chance encounters the two meet and a romance blooms, but can it withstand the pursuit of their dreams?
Coming off the back of the success of Whiplash, Damien Chazelle has now crafted an unabashed love letter to the golden age of Hollywood and in particular musicals. The cinematography, choreography and songwriting on display in La La Land is simply breathtaking, magical even. It takes you for a couple of hours on a journey that goes beyond simple pastiche and stands, or more appropriately, dances on its own two feet. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone set the screen alight, their chemistry utterly believable, joyous and poignant, both handling the song and dance routines like seasoned professionals. The songs are wonderfully realised and the melodies will be playing in your head and probably hummed on your way out the cinema.
If you are not a fan of musicals, I doubt La La Land is going to offer much to change your mind. If you are however, or at the very least are open minded to the prospect, you will find this joyful, infectious and beautifully made salute to a bygone cinematic tradition an utterly charming and worthwhile experience.