LA LA LAND
If there is ever a film to break your frequent-trips-to-the-cinema dry spell it is La La Land.
I won't lie, all the hype surrounding La La Land as soon as it was released did make me feel rather dubious about it despite the fact that I knew I would love (almost) any film Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling star in (together). Luckily for me I guess, there came a time when I had to take a time out from life and still my turbulent mind: I went to church, waltzed through China town to witness the Lunar New Year festivities, pampered myself with torture at a threading bar and ended up at the doors of HOME to watch my first film of the year, now armed with 14 Oscar nominations.
Written and directed by Damien Chazelle (Whiplash), La La Land is sure to make you - at the very least - smile; tap your feet to the beat of its heart-winning soundtrack and; feel like you are most definitely not in it alone. Though simple its storyline may seem, it is one of the most realistic love stories about art, film, music and two charmingly complex people I have seen in a while which was very refreshing. The opening scene, full of energy, colour and synchronicity, was a perfect way to set the tone for the film in my opinion- and a thousand others' from all the reviews I've read and listened to; I doubt I will ever think of traffic jams the same way again. And though people do not burst into song in our everyday life, which I feel is rather sad, the world Damien Chazelle created along with the rest of the crew and cast made it seem quite normal and never once lost its relatability or charm.
If I were to do a January Favourites post or video, this film would be on it. I mean... Wowza! Be it the characters, locations, costumes, music (composed by Justin Hurwitz; lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul), dance sequences or scenes shot in one take, this film has me hooked and I cannot wait for it to come out on DVD - I already own the soundtrack and I'm still struggling to pick my favourite song after listening to it everyday for two weeks; I even use it as my yoga session soundtrack - it's that deep folks. The two main characters in this film are Mia and Sebastian. Mia, an aspiring actress (and writer) who is no stranger to turning up for auditions whilst paying the bills working in a coffee shop, is played wondrously by Emma Stone (Birdman; Magic in the Moonlight; Easy A). And Sebastian, a passionate advocate for jazz is a pianist eager to coax people into connecting with jazz again with every note he plays, is brought to life oh-so-well by Ryan Gosling (The Big Short; Crazy, Stupid Love; Drive). Watching their lives unfold and paths intertwine had me questioning my own decisions thus far and taking a closer look at some recent encounters that could have affected choices I made either for the better or worse; it gave a me a nudge to get the ball rolling again, believe in myself more even if no one else will and honour what I love, want and need to do - cheesy, I know but I do not care.
La La Land is both magical and down-to-earth. It is a musical about hope, failure, love, dreams, ups, downs, beginnings and endings; fit for everyone once given a chance. If you are still dragging your heels or have not even heard about it yet, I think you should, at the very least, put it on your list of films to watch if you decided not to see it today. Plus (!) with Valentine's Day just around the corner, this would be a perfect film to watch ;)
Some bonus interviews you should watch/listen to once you have seen the film can be found here: DP/30 ; Emma Stone on 'La La Land'; FOX 5: Emma Stone and Damien Chazelle on 'La La Land'; The Hollywood Reporter || Oscar Director's Roundtable; The Hollywood Reporter|| Epic Conversation on Creativity, Variety Podcast: Damien Chazelle on 'La La Land', 'First Man' and 'Daring to Dream',
P.S. Was it just me that loved the font used for the seasons title cards? It makes me swoon *heart-eye emoji*