This has all the glitz and glamour of old-style Hollywood, and is a Oscars front-runner for sure.
It’s hard not to feel just that little bit jealous of Ryan Gosling. The Canadian is a massive hit with the ladies, and has got everything going for him- his physique, his hair and his smile all seem disturbingly perfect. So, when given the opportunity to exploit his musical talents in Damien Chazelle’s romantic La La Land, it’s no wonder he took the gig. Men up and down the country will groan at the sight of him swashbuckling the streets of Los Angeles in tight-fitted shirts whilst jazzing up the screen.
The 36-year old plays Sebastian, a pianist who is broke and living in a world of nostalgia. He owns an old Buick Riviera Convertible, and has a love for the old-style, improvised jazz. Seb’s dream is to own a club which will enable him to save his beloved music from the modern, electronic-styled sounds of today.
Whilst playing at a rundown bar, Gosling bumps into wannabe-actress Mia, played fabulously by Emma Stone. After failing audition after audition, the young hopeful has to instead deal with a day job working as a barista at the coffee shop inside Warner Bros. As they continue to bump into each other, they begin to fall for one another.
This isn’t the first time Gosling and Stone have worked alongside one-another. The pair were both in Romantic-Comedy ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’ in 2011, and then ‘Gangster Squad’ two years later. Their on-screen bond seems at it’s strongest in this movie. The two compliment each other, and both sparkle and shine throughout.
As Seb and Mia grow closer to both each other and achieving their dreams, each has to make difficult choices for the sake of their relationship and careers.
But we can’t forget this is a musical. From the outset we are thrown straight into a song, with people dancing along to a catchy tune on car bonnets during a traffic jam. But Chazelle’s script provides us with an excellent romantic drama that coincides perfectly with the music. This, to put it in its simplest terms, is a story of romance and never giving up on your dreams.
Making this movie was always going to be a gamble. Not just for the director, but also for the actors and actress’s. We haven’t seen a musical in the cinema since Les Miserables in 2012. Questions have been asked whether the genre can still fit into 21st century cinema and society- would it still be enjoyed and adored like in previous times? This fortunately, was a gamble that paid off.
The bright costumes and primary colours which fill the screen make it a joy to watch. It was like being transported back to the 1950s and old-style Hollywood. A time when such classics as Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen’s ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ were the talk of the town. Almost 70 years later, and La La Land is getting that exact same hype.
The lyrics may not be as catchy as musicals such as ‘Grease’- but the music itself makes you want to get up and jive at times. ‘City of Stars’- performed by Gosling and then again in a duet with Stone, is a beautiful song which many will be humming after viewing.
And as the credits roll, you can be sure some will leave in tears, and others will applaud it. But everyone will leave happy. This is a film that could inspire children, a film men will enjoy and a film women will love.
More importantly, it’s a film filled with a sense of happiness which everyone could do with. For two hours our minds drift into a land of glitz and glamour, song and dance, love and friendship. It will leave you smiling. An Oscars front-runner for sure.
(12A) 132 mins.