Writer/Director Damien Chazelle’s La La Land is a wonderful film about dreams, choices and magic.
From the get-go, Chazelle made a bold and successful choice by bringing film musicals into the 21st century with a Mandy Moore-choreographed dance number in the midst of L.A. morning traffic.
Further, he decided to make the film about all dreamers by choosing to bring the lead actors Ryan Gosling (Seb) and Emma Stone (Mia) into the scene after the magical number composed by Justin Hurwitz with lyrics by Justin Paul and Benj Pasek was well under way and all but the most jaded viewers were under the film’s spell.
So, the love story of Seb and Mia became the love story of every man and woman pursuing their individual dreams.
Of particular specialness is the fact that Emma Stone’s voice is small and tentative in the early scenes, endearing us to the fact she is not an accomplished singer. That proves to be another magical turn, when later in the film, she belts out a song with incredible strength and gusto.
And, the only “mistake,” in my opinion, was in the 3rd or Fall part of the film, when Chazelle elected to drop magic and go to realism in the low part of the relationship instead of using another song to express the emotions and keep the audience in the magical air.
This delicate story would not have worked, if it were not for the brilliant Cinematography of Linus Sangren and the equally brilliant cutting of his images by Editor Tom Cross. And, Mary Zophres costumes perfectly added to the film’s flavor, as well.
La La Land is definitely on the must-see list of this year’s movies. I give it a 4.7 out of 5.