When hearing about a musical involving Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, I, like many others, was a tiny bit sceptical. (‘A musical? For real?’ thought ignorant me.) This however, already changed when I only saw the La La Land trailer; Including gorgeous shots of the LA skyline, Ryan Gosling’s warm voice singing to a pretty melody, and a seemingly beautiful story. La La Land is not only loved by its audience, but the press and the critics have been nothing but jubilant about it. But what is it that has all the viewers hooked?
First of all the film can be appointed a load of different genres. They sing and dance, which makes it a musical. But it is also romantic as heck. It’s a real drama, but it is not too heavy and still funny. When my sister went to the cinema one day before me she tried to warn me: “Don’t tell your boyfriend yet, but it is kind of girly.” However, said boyfriend only got scared the first 3 minutes when the whole fast lane full of non-moving cars suddenly bursted out into the same song. When the story started however, he was hooked as well, and I secretly suspect he fell in love with Ryan Gosling a little bit (but oh well, who can blame him?). Everyone who enjoys the art of film can fall irretrievably in love with something about this movie, which I think makes it exceptionally good.
While I think there are few people who do not know this yet I have to mention that Emma Stone (the lovable barista, Mia who has big eyes and bigger dreams of becoming and actress) and Ryan Gosling (Sebastian, the jazz loving, stubborn pianist who just wants things to go back to the way they where when he wasn’t the only one who still cared about real jazz) are pretty damn good at what they do. While Gosling’s face tells the audience stories the lenght of a novel without saying a single word, I am especially impressed by Emma Stone’s complete lack of care or worry towards being ugly. Of course someone this beautiful is completely right not to worry about her looks for just one second but this woman is not afraid to make a silly face, cry like a real person, or scream like someone who actually knows how to be angry. Her indifference towards looking sexy on screen makes Emma Stone hot as hell, and makes her so perfectly suitable for her job.
Now, normally I would not consider myself a writer of film reviews or a film expert of any kind. I can hardly name any directors or producers and typically I don’t really delve into that. But this movie is a different kettle of fish, mainly thanks to a man I did really need to look up when I got home: Linus Sandgren. This movie’s director of photography. I fell in love, not just with Sebastian the piano player, but with every shot of every landscape, building, person, or even object in this movie. Linus Sandgren knows his sh*t people, mark my words.
However, if there’s one point of criticism I can think of it has to be the one I have stumbled across on several social media platforms. Jazz music, which finds its origins in New Orleans and originated amongst African Americans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, plays a prominent role in Damien Chazelle’s work of art. It has roots in West African (musical) culture and was a significant way for the African American community to express themselves and to feel united. Many feel like it is a shame that this has not been adressed in any part of yet another white boy falls in love with white girl love story. This, of course, is a fair point, but one I am way too uneducated to justly discuss. If there are any brilliant filmmakers reading a random girl’s blog: This is an issue that has to be dealth with. Not just in film but when it comes to representation in general.
For anyone who is still doubting whether or not they should see La La Land, definitely do so. The brilliant acting in this movie has rightfully been awarded extensively and I think more and more awards are to come for this extraordinary motion picture. And when all those awards are being handed to Ryan, Emma and Damien, I really hope someone thinks of Mr. Sandgren as well, I mean:
And now I’m giving shoutouts anyway, this movie would not have been half as good if it wasn’t for Justin Hurwitz phenomenal musical talent. While the work of all the above mentioned people has been nothing short of outstanding, Hurwitz is the one that makes you laugh, cry and awkwardly do both at the same time during this movie. Hats off to mr. Hurwitz!
And after briefly noting that the dresses Emma Stone was wearing were all freakin’ adorable, to round of I would like to end with a tiny, little piece of the lyrics to one of the musical’s beautiful songs, that has not left my brain since I stepped out of the theatre:
“Here’s to the ones that dream Foolish as they may seem. Here’s to the ones that ache. Here’s to the mess we make.”
If in doubt: Go see.
If not in doubt: Go see as well.
If already seen: Go see again.