Review: La La Land

Here's to the dreamers.

Mia (Emma Stone) is a struggling actress working as a barista on a studio lot. By chance, she keeps running into Sebastian, (Ryan Gosling) a jazz pianist who dreams of owning his own club, but is stuck in the past music wise. This musical follows their relationship as artists in LA.

Despite a few questionable camera techniques, La La Land is beautiful to look at. It's bright and sunny even when our characters are at their worst. I loved everything from the places they shot to the outfits they worse. (Seriously, can I have Mia's wardrobe?) The musical numbers are a joy to watch and are very reminiscent of old Hollywood. I love anything that throws in a tap(ish) routine.

Stone gives the performance of her career in this role. It's hard not to love Mia, she's funny and charming and you can't help but get angry for her when she's shut down while giving a good audition. Gosling is good as well, and he and Stone have wonderful chemistry. As far as the singing, neither actor is a very strong vocalist.

The story itself, aside from the musical aspect is very generic and fairly predictable, which brings me to awards season. Without the music, I don't think we would be talking about this as a Best Picture front runner. I couldn't help but be reminded of The Artist while I watched it. This is a film that's gimmick is going to take it straight to the top. But is it going to be remembered the same way The Artist is now? With somewhat of a "ehh" years later? I can't help but feel a little weird about this, despite liking it so much. Arrival and Moonlight are better films in my opinion, but they're not flashy. I can't even get behind that it was a risk making this film because look at how the Academy ate up The Artist? This isn't a risk, they love it.

I don't want to sound like I'm hating on this, because I loved it, truly. Not as much as I have loved other films this year, but I had to bring this up somewhere.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A-

Memorable Quote: "Did you just say 'serious musician?'" - Mia (Emma Stone)

28 comments:

  1. Great review! There has been so much hype surrounding this movie that I'm a little scared I'm going to be disappointed.
    Really looking forward to seeing Moonlight too!

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    1. I definitely didn't love it like I thought I would, I think it is getting a bit overhyped. It's still a great movie but I was hoping for instant A+ lol.

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  2. I completely thought about The Artist too! Gimmicks galore! You certainly seemed to enjoy this one more than I did. People on twitter made great points about movies like The Social Network sweeping the Globes during their year, but falling short come Oscars. Could happen with this movie? The Guilds seem to lean differently than foreign press, but we shall see!

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    1. Maybe. I can't see a scenario where this doesn't win Best Picture at this point, it reminds me of the way they took to The Artist way too much.

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  3. Gimmick, sure...but a DAMN WELL PLAYED ONE!!! I just found this movie to be perfect in every way. When it slays at the Oscars, I'm going to stand up and cheer as hard as I can.

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    1. Oh yeah, very well played, but I still prefer Moonlight and Arrival. Don't get me wrong, I'll be happy about this winning everything (except Screenplay) though

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  4. I don't know that it's a gimmick so much as a genre: Musical. Either way, I'm good with gimmicks AND genre films when they're executed well, and La La Land is executed SUPERBLY. It's as much about movie musicals as it is a great example of one, which makes me SO happy. Glad you liked it.

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    1. I felt the word "gimmick" applied because they keep pushing that particular part of the story when saying how risky it is. The musical genre itself isn't that daring, there's just a select taste.

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  5. This just sounds like a really great musical that, for once, the academy is taking seriously. Aside from Singing In The Rain, American in Paris and Gigi, most musicals were overlooked and the actors were definitely overlooked. Can't wait to see this

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    1. Les Miserables definitely got a lot of love the year it came out. But yes, most of them don't get recognition. I wonder if Les Mis helped change that?

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  6. I'm hoping to see this film this weekend as I've been trying to last weekend as it's getting harder to get the chance to see films in the theaters for me lately.

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    1. I'm sorry :( I hate when that happens. I hope this weekend works out for you.

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  7. yes, it is an enjoyable film. But it's not a great film, and the narrative is severely lacking. Though Emma gives the best performance of her career, it does not compare to Viola Davis, Ruth Negga, Annette Bening or other far more powerful performances from women last year.

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    1. I haven't seen 20th century woman but I do agree that Davis and Negga are better in their films. Stone and Negga I'd say are close though, nothing touches Davis this year.

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  8. I loved The Artist but this just seems so...meh? I mean I'm sure it's well directed but 7 Golden Globes, what the fuck...

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    1. I wasn't a fan of The Artist so I liked this one a lot more. It's a great film, I just think that it's going to win for a pat on the back over other films that I thought were better.

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  9. i loved this movie the first time i saw it, but the second time it was more like...eh. i mean, it's a beautiful to look at and certainly well-acted, but it's pretty connect-the-dots plotwise (although the ending i thought was great). i'd be fine if it wins best picture, but best original screenplay?? really? also, i'll be pissed if emma stone wins an oscar for this. she was good, but nowhere near isabelle huppert in elle or annete bening in 20th century women imo

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    1. Yeah, I will absolutely be happy for it if it wins Best Picture but it shouldn't touch Best Original Screenplay. I haven't seen Elle or 20th Century Women, but Natalie Portman was phenomenal in Jackie. She should have that Oscar, imo.

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  10. Great review!

    I like The Artist. This movie eats The Artist for breakfast, chews it up, and spits it out, just to spite it. La La Land is not gimmicky at all. Song and dance numbers are not gimmicks if your purpose is to make a musical. Making a silent film set in the silent film era for present day audiences is. This, to me, is a totally original, confidently made ode to things people (especially every person who collaborated to make it) love...classic movies, Jazz, and love itself, nodding but not ripping off. And I find it really charming (and totally original as well) that Stone and Gosling don't sing and dance to perfection. The plot is definitely thin to make way for the music, but that's forgivable when there's so much love flowing through every frame.

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    1. I agree La La Land devours the Artist. I'm just saying in terms of what the Academy likes, it's gimmicky, not risky. That's my only issue is how risky everyone says this film was when it doesn't feel that way at all.

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  11. Nice review! I loved The Artist and La La Land, but The Artist didn't feel like a gimmick as much as La La Land did. Michel Hazanavicius' use of silent era felt intricate and intentional, but Damien's direction felt like a contemporary drama with some decent musical scenes thrown in here and there. The Classic Hollywood angle felt over-hyped by critics too. :/

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    1. I agree with the classic Hollywood thing too. I don't think this was a risky film at all. I kind of hope it's stops being referred to as such.

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  12. Yeah...as much as I liked the film you can tick off things that appear to critics and academy members.

    I did enjoy it though, thought the camerawork was stunning and Stone and Gosling did a decent enough job.

    Good review.

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    1. Yes, the cinematography in this was spectacular. Everything about it was gorgeous.

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  13. Oh I'm in love with this movie! Forgive my lack of references, but this one got me hooked in and through, although I must admit, the plot is non that grand size.

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  14. I'm all in on this one and loved just about everything about it. It may be a little by-the-numbers, sure, but I cared so much about Mia and Sebastian (this is a guy I wish I could be more like...shit) all is forgiven.

    I'm pretty much with Fisti on this one (no surprise there).

    Loved the review, Brittani.

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    1. I definitely forgive it for being by the numbers because it's very good, they just need to stop talking about how risky it was. lol

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