Movie Review: La La Land

(Originally written on January 31st 2017, edited)

By, Jesse Jay Aguirre

This Review is a post from an old blog that I created on Tumblr way back in my early years of highschool. I decided that I am going to start posting some of those old articles onto this site and give them a sort of redux treatment for the sake of more content.

Yes, movies can still be magical.

It is hard to put in words on how much of a triumph La La Land is to American cinema. It is really rare we see a picture with such marvelous production, acting, and direction all blended together. Directed by the talented Damien Chazelle, who was also behind the works of the critically acclaimed Whiplash (2014), La La Land serves as a love letter to the arts like we’ve never seen before.

Winner of a whopping 7 Golden Globes and 6 Oscars, La La Land stars Emma Stone who gracefully plays the character of Mia, an actress struggling to make her acting career blossom in the heart of Hollywood. Alongside Emma Stone this film features Ryan Gosling who shows off his talents in the role as Sebastian, a skilled Jazz pianist who’s struggling to find a steady job in the oversaturated music industry of LA. Yet is driven by his dream to one day open up his own Jazz club. At first glance this film seems to be a run-of-the-mill cliché romantic musical, but I can assure you that this film is so much more. This movie is (as the song Dreamers sang by Emma Stone goes) for the ones who dream. Never before have I seen a picture that perfectly displays the hardships and the high-risk-high-reward in pursuing something you love so dearly.

This movie was a beautiful ride from beginning to end and helps highlight some of the harsh realities of life and especially love. There was never once a dull moment while watching this film and the story alone had me intrigued the entire time. There is a lot of stylistic choices to the story that help subvert expectations and make it feel a little bit more unpredictable.

From a technical standpoint, La La Land raises the bar on everything from its fantastic choreography to the stunning cinematography. With how well the storytelling and acting is people tend to gloss over the work that is going on behind the camera. Shot by cinematographer Linus Sandgren, whose previous camera work includes Joy and American Hustle, I have never seen the city of Los Angeles look so incredibly magnificent in a film till now. Sandgren uses a very vibrant color pallet that helps highlight all the dazzling beauty that some of California has to offer. He also uses a technique that makes a lot of musical scenes in this movie feel like all one shot which helps add to the feeling like we are watching a masterful broadway show.

The actors and crew give it their all here, and it is clearly evident with the impressive vocal performances that are scattered throughout the movie. To add on to that, the music that isn’t sung in the film is extremely pleasing to the ear and is worth listening to the soundtrack after the movie is over as it is one of the more impressive movie soundtracks to come out to date.

Overall, this movie is a masterpiece and is worth every second of your time if you truly love the art of music, film, and even dancing. This, in my humble opinion will stand for years as the best musical ever made in the 21st century.

Rating: 10/10

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