La La Land, A Fantastic Musical Mirage.
With a reverie for the classical Hollywood Musical, La La Land, is more than a verse from the past but a film with a song of its own. Following Emma Stone as Mia and Ryan gosling as Sebastian, the two swirl around La, finding and falling in and out of love. The film is directed by Whiplash’s Damien Chazelle and follows a similar dedication to rhythm and beat, flowing with a happy energy, from over-arching highways, to dimly lit, intimate back alley jazz clubs.
The film is being massively praised, with Golden Globe wins and Oscar anticipation. One can see why, as the acting is superb, with dance numbers and dramatic poise being effortlessly woven between scenes from Gosling and Stone. Both actors have some experience in music on film, and their musical numbers appear expertly crafted.
La La Land opens with a long, one take style, opener switching between commuters dancing around their cars, on a hot Californian morning. This first song, is not directly related to the plot, but acts as an express reminder that this world is dreamy, bombastic and soulful. As the opening La La Land title dissolves the love story between Mia and Sebastien is filled with hidden nuances from chasing dreams to embracing reality. Small references to 80’s pop music in a particular party scene, and an iPhone ring interrupting the climax of another number, serve as little notes to the audience that the world we are in is not completely fictitious. It is this slight tinge of contemporaneity which binds the film to experiences many can engage with, romance, nostalgia and a phone call stalling the moment.
Many are contrasting the film’s optimism and energy with the stark political and social outlook at the back end of 2016, which is somewhat of a disservice, this film is not merely an antidote. It is it’s own breathing singing and moving piece of cinema which has captivated audiences and galvanised a once buoyant genre. The final moments of the film not only culminate in some beautifully executed nostalgia and dreamy cinema, but manages to end on a tone which not many people would expect, but a beautifully played chord none the less.
La La Land, a fantastic Musical mirage.
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