Donnerstag, 19. Januar 2017

LA LA LAND - Movie Review

Title: La La Land
Running Time: 128 min
Director: Damien Chazelle
Writer: Damien Chazelle
Starring: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling,  Rosemarie Dewitt, John Legend, J.K. Simmons

"And the Golden Globe goes to... La La Land.“ Yes, this film broke records by winning a total of 7 Golden Globes including awards for its actors, director and music. As a result, in countries where the film is still playing in theaters, the lines for this movie are huge. But what does this romantic musical have that makes it earn so much praise? Can you believe the critical hype?
Well, once you have watched „La La Land“, it becomes clear why the Hollywood Foreign Press Association celebrates it that much: The whole film is a love letter to Hollywood. It is also, so it seems, director Damien Chazelles' apology to all those who felt he misrepresented the spirit of Jazz in „Whiplash“. Our two protagonists are just two lonely souls trying to make it big in the City of Angels (or the City of Stars as Gosling sings of it). One as an actress, the other as a pianist. Both of them dwell on the past, admiring the classic stars of their craft and the glamour of it all.
For the third time, Gosling and Stone are pairing up to play an amorous couple, and their familiarity with each other becomes apparent on screen. They have great chemistry together and since their both playing very much within their wheelhouse (Emma Stone even gets to do a short lip sync performance as she did on the Tonight Show), they play their parts with such an ease that their characters and their relationship seem incredibly natural. On top of that, of course, they had to manage the singing, the dancing and in Gosling's case the piano playing. They pass on all three of those. Sure, there might be better singers than Stone and better dancers than Gosling, but its their comprehensive package that totally sells the film. And Ryan Gosling's skills on the ivories are impressive, especially when you consider he had to learn it from scratch for this film.
But our two actors are not the only players that do their job more than well. Damien Chazelle's direction is incredibly beautiful. Through a pointed use of long takes and conspicuous lighting, he manages to accentuate the musical performances in a way that they feel almost detached from the actual story line. Paradoxically, this makes the musical aspect of the film more believable as you don't have the impression that the characters randomly break out into a song, but rather that (like a dream sequence) the act is just an artistic representation of the characters' innermost thoughts and emotions. You will notice that he usually refrains from doing so, when the characters actually play music for others within the story. In addition, Chazelle also avails himself of the L.A. setting of the film. On every occasion, he stages his scenes around the city in a way that underlines their tone or visually expresses what the characters are going through. It's a treat for the eyes.
The story itself is not only a cute love-story but a tale of dreams, hopes and wishes and how we go about them as our life progresses. The afore mentioned magnificent work of the talents involved manages to save the film from becoming too cheesy, and just when you think you a schmaltzy Hollywood ending is coming up, the film turns it around and delivers a strong conclusion.
So does "La La Land" deserve the hype? Is it even worthy of a Best Picture Oscar? I can't say for sure. It doesn't have the relevance of a "12 Years a Slave", the philosophy of a "Birdman" or the big emotional punch of  a "Spotlight", but then again the conversation whether only heavy-hearted dramas are worthy of prestigious Awards is long overdue. What I can say however, is that this is not a chick-flick, but rather a carefully crafted, charmingly acted and delightfully told romantic musical that will enchant and entertain you for its entire run time. Is there more you could ask for?

For Fans Of:
The Artist (2011)
Singin' in the Rain (1952)
West Side Story (1961)
Crazy Stupid Love (2011)

Click Here To Watch Trailer!

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