Review of Damien Chazelle’s love letter to classic Hollywood musicals
By Carter Bagley
Damien Chazelle has proved himself to be a talent to be reckoned with now that he’s successfully followed up his 2014 masterpiece “Whiplash” with his newest feature “La La Land”. Every year there’s a few films that just come out of nowhere and completely immerse you and in 2014 that film was definitely “Whiplash”. I went in n0t expecting anything and I came out reinvigorated and excited and this was mostly due to Chazelle’s brilliant writing and impressively fresh directing style. He has a way of working with actors and bringing out their best and worst qualities while entirely humanizing them making them relatable. Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons were electric together and both gave standout performances and it’s no different for Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in “La La Land”. Both Gosling and Stone deserve Oscar nominations for their parts here and the latter deserves the statue hands down, Gosling is just as amazing it’s just the Best Actor race this year is completely stacked and he has to go toe to toe with all the other amazing performances. The film follows Mia (Stone) and Sebastian (Gosling) on two intertwining stories of passion and romance that’s filmed and written in such a flawless way that it completely captures the attention of anyone who watches the film. Chazelle brilliantly captures the standouts of old Hollywood musicals while adding in his own quirks and styles in a way that blew my mind. The film is truly a spectacle from beginning to end and the only words I can truly use to describe it are charming and special. The characters are both young and passionate dreamers in a modern day Los Angeles who are driven to accomplish their goals they have both set for themselves. Mia wants to be a huge Hollywood actress while Sebastian wants to be a jazz musician and venue owner. The plot sounds pretty generic and played out but the way it’s made and the characters we’re given make it much more unique and compelling. It sucks you in and makes you really care about both of these characters and their lives along with the beautiful romance we see play out before us. From beginning to end I was completely enthralled and smiling in a way that a film hasn’t made me do in a long time. The music and choreography are incredible and even if you don’t like musicals this film may completely change your opinion on the genre. Every scene is just cinematic perfection and captivating to just look at on a technical level. After the success of “Whiplash” Damien Chazelle was given the permission to make anything he desired to and in a Hollywood where musicals aren’t welcome anymore he completely threw out the rulebook and crafted a modern classic that will be looked at for years to come. It’s really that good and I say anyone should go see this film, if you have experienced passion and love then go see it because I guarantee it will resonate with you in a unique way that you won’t expect. These types of film usually just aren’t made anymore and because a few of them are every year we should give them our complete support because “La La Land” is hands down a masterpiece and really gives me hope for the future of Hollywood. Gosling and Stone are incredible, the soundtrack is beautiful and painful and Chazelle’s directing is on par with the greatest of all time. It truly 100% is. I can’t wait to see what this guy does next, I can’t wait to see this film many more times and I can’t wait to see the status it receives in the next decade or so. Everyone should definitely go watch it in theaters because it captivated me and has to be one of the best cinematic experiences I’ve had in the past few years, I feel like I witnessed a classic in the making.