Damien Chazelle’s hit sophomore film, Whiplash, was a film that made me fear Jazz music whenever I heard it.
With his newest film, La La Land, Chazelle has made me fall in love with not only jazz and cinema, but life in general.
One of the few films where people were clapping in the middle of the film because the songs and scenes were that amazing.
When it was over, I wanted to stand up and cheer, also my heart grew 3 sizes.
If Whiplash was a film showcasing the cynicism of reality La La Land showcases the optimism of life and the glory that music adds to it.
Not only one of the most fresh pieces of art in the last decade, but one that stands as a tribute and a great musical all together. This is one of those films that will create a revolution in cinema with how genuine it is.
It’s as if Chazelle was born to hold a camera as every shot in La La Land creates a definition for the scene at hand.
Zooms help amp up excitement during jazz numbers while during the more traditional musical set pieces that are all in one shot.
The use of lighting helps encapsulate the emotion the character singing is feeling in that moment.
A lot of the sets that I thought were on studios were actually filmed on location which only impressed me with how dedicated Chazelle was to his craft and continues to strive for innovation in a genre in film that is sharing the same expected fate as jazz.
In their third film they’ve starred in together, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone’s chemistry has never been this off the charts.
I was endeared by their performances the whole way through as they play off each other extremely well in both the musical scenes and the more dramatic scenes.
A glance can tell their whole story to the audience with these two.
Stone gives one of the best performances of the year. She has a show stopper song near the climax that will make your heart stop and want to get up out of your seat to applaud.
Gosling really holds his own with not only his singing but his piano playing.
Most actors would cheat the playing of instruments but Chazelle doesn’t want to bullshit his audience, so he had Gosling learn how to play the piano.
It really pays off in the end because I felt more connected with Gosling and the music he played.
These two help tell the conflicting nature of jazz and success just like how Gosling explains in the film, “This is the dream! It’s conflict and it’s compromise, and it’s very, very exciting!”
Not only is La La Land a tribute to Jazz and Hollywood musicals, but it’s also a tale about which should come first, success or love.
Chazelle loves to tackle stories in which audiences are left asking themselves what the right decision is when trying to be great in an art form.
Whiplash tackled this in a more pessimistic way when asking how far must someone go to become a great.
La La Land asks us if giving up on our personal feelings is worth being successful in the end.
Emma Stone starts to doubt herself as the film progresses if she can become a big actor and she can only succeed when she has the love and support from Gosling. Love can help you with success..but it depends on the person.
★★★★★ If you hate happiness, music, romance, crying, laughter, or jazz, this film is not for you. If you like any of these things you’ll be on agreement that La La Land is the best film of 2016.