This may sound like a bold claim but Damien Chazelle’s La La Land is one of the best musicals to come out in years, it’s both creative and fresh as well as looking to the future of musicals, whilst honouring those of the past. After being nominated for the Best Picture award at the Oscars (as well as numerous other accolades) for his first film Whiplash, there was high anticipation for Chazelle’s next feature film and it does not disappoint. The film is not just a happy soppy musical about love with two Hollywood stars, the ever successful Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, because the story is told in such an innovative way that an age-old story of romance feels new and exciting again. The visuals are stunning, the sequences are colourful and beautifully choreographed, the opening scene itself is something to behold as it feels like the large scale musical numbers from classic Hollywood movies.
The music for the film by Justin Hurwitz is both sophisticated and fun, some songs feel like they have come straight out of a golden age musical, with a modern touch. Despite the story being jazz orientated, the music is not actually quite jazz but incorporates elements of it in the instrumentation. The soundtrack itself will likely make you want to revisit the film, but it is more than just your standard modern musical. Chazelle revisits the glamour and style approach from over half a century ago but he knows how to shoot a film incredibly well and incorporates these gorgeous visuals into his mesmerising filmmaking style. One of the things I really loved about the films was the fact Chazelle used creative forms of storytelling, both through the medium of dance and music, where all of the technical aspects are utilised imaginatively.
La La Land was an absolute delight to see on the big screen, it has catchy and wonderfully written music, stylish visuals, colourful set-pieces, remarkable shots and editing, as well as some stunning choreography. There’s a lot of buzz around this film, and it seems well-deserved, let alone the fact that it’s already set a record for the most awards won by a single film when it was awarded seven Golden Globes this year. The movie manages to be both funny and emotional without feeling overly corny, there are moments of cliché’s but they come with the territory of romantic musicals; Chazelle manages to produce comedic moments with the films self-awareness, subtly parodying a few staples of the genre.
Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are one of the many reasons to see the film, they both pull in excellent performances; John Legend is pretty cool in his role too. La La Land is another triumph in Damien Chazelle’s brief filmography, I highly recommend you go and see this while it’s still in the cinema, because there’s just something great about seeing all those colours and sequences in Cinemascope on the big screen. It’s a phenomenal piece of artwork and breathes some fresh air into the musical genre. After the huge success of the film so far, La La Land will hopefully reinvent the way audiences and filmmakers view musicals, because it is bloody good.