La La Land (5 stars)

TIFF 2016: Emma Stone is Oscar-worthy in Damien Chazelle's magical musical

comments (3)
La La Land

Anyone who has ever splashed through puddles in tribute to Gene Kelly or sighed with blissful contentment at Funny Face will adore La La Land. Writer-director Damien Chazelle's intoxicating homage to the classic musicals of Hollywood's Golden Age is a technical marvel and a joyous experience that you want to revisit immediately after watching it for the very first time.

Chazelle's follow-up to Whiplash emphatically underlines his mastery of filmmaking; it's an impeccably crafted musical that evokes the scope, dazzling colours and larger-than-life emotions of an M-G-M crowd-pleaser. An all-singing, all-dancing opening number staged in a traffic jam on a motorway is an immediate marker of Chazelle's audacious inventiveness, and a sign of what lies in store.

An adorable Emma Stone plays Mia, a waitress on the Warner Bros. lot and an aspiring actress, enduring the humiliation of countless futile auditions. Ryan Gosling's dapper Sebastian is a musician and jazz fanatic, determined to open his own nightclub.

Drawn together by fate, their tentative, bittersweet romance blossoms through disappointments and triumph, unfolding in a gorgeous, fairytale vision of Los Angeles that takes the breath away. This is a film in thrall to Vincente Minnelli and Jacques Demy, the feather-light elegance of Fred Astaire and the heartbreak of Judy Garland.

The cast rise to the occasion. Gosling is a goofy, idealistic charmer and Stone shows all the versatility, vulnerability and blazing talent of a young Shirley MacLaine as she sings, dances and steals your heart. Start engraving that Best Actress Oscar with her name right now.

La La Land really is as good as everyone claims. It is an irresistible, big-hearted valentine to starry-eyed dreamers and the enduring magic of the movies.

Screening as part of the Toronto International Film Festival 2016. General release from Fri 13 Jan.

La La Land

  • 5 stars
  • 2016
  • US
  • 126 min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Damien Chazelle
  • Cast: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, J.K. Simmons
  • UK release: 13 January 2017

In Los Angeles, aspiring actress Mia (Stone) falls for jazz musician Sebastian (Gosling). Audaciously inventive homage to classic movie musicals, technically wonderful and joyously emotional, with Gosling as a goofy idealistic charmer and Stone showing the versatility, vulnerability and talent of a young Shirley MacLaine.

Comments

1. Lyndragon17 Jan 2017, 9:39pm Report

Didn't rate this film lots of scenes needed cutting, started me day dreaming so boring in parts, great acting and singing by main characters, but lip syncing needed to be checked in first scene. Only realised why it had the title it did three quarters way through. 2 stars for me.

2. Georgie 118 Jan 2017, 6:52pm Report

I have to agree with the previous comment. The beginning and the end were fine but I would not call this a musical and it did not capture my attention and I started to look at my watch. Very disappointing and boring. Spend your money on something else.

3. Hazel Robson18 Jan 2017, 7:03pm Report

La la land - biggest pile of pants I have seen in a long time. So sooooooo boring I actually wanted to walk out.

How did it win all the awards, they must have been on drugs. Don't waste your money.

Post a comment
RSS feed of these comments