THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS. (Just so you know.)
Don’t get me wrong; I know that I am about eight hundred months late to the La La Land party, and for that, I apologize. However, after watching the movie three times over the course of six days, I believe I am fully prepared to give you a thorough review on everything from character to costuming. *insert entrance music here*
Before I even go straight into the factors that made the movie great, I want to give a brief synopsis:
- Aspiring actress goes to several auditions, inevitably fails.
- Aspiring jazz musician plays jazz music in a club where Christmas (??) music is the only type of music that is allowed, is promptly fired.
- Actress and musician meet in traffic, actress flips off musician, beginning of love story.
- Lots of other plot lines happen, and by the end, actress has a successful audition and jazz musician opens a jazz club.
Let’s be honest: historically, movie musicals are well-hyped on social media but fail about 77% of the time when they hit mainstream theaters (made-up statistic, real-life results). Take, for example, Jem and the Holograms, the most recent flop. The film had such a horrid crash landing, in fact, that it was pulled from the public only one month after its initial release date. This nickel of a nostalgic “masterpiece” is a prime example of reasoning to NOT release a movie musical in this day in age. However, following in the footsteps of Rent, Chicago, and The Sound of Music, director Damien Chazelle takes a risk and hits the ground running.
Despite the failure of its predecessors, La La Land became, unarguably, the most successful film of the 2017 awards season, breaking the previously held Golden Globes record and meeting the record for most Academy Awards for a single film. Chazelle can credit these wins to an incredible score and a ridiculously likable cast–especially in the interviews. With chemistry (even friendly) on screen and off, we all knew even before the premiere that La La Land was going to be a film to watch out for. We were right. (Also, ICYMI, here’s the best interview, because Vanity Fair always does it right: http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/09/la-la-land-ryan-gosling-emma-stone-damien-chazelle-interview).
The most redeeming factor of the entire film, however, is the remarkable ending. Sorry, you hopeless romantics out there–the leads do not live happily ever after, the end. In fact, our lovely aspiring-now-famous actress is married and has a child with another man, and only ever lays eyes upon our jazz club owner once she accidentally steps foot in his club, where a montage of their relationship plays with a smooth jazz score riding through the background. They smile at each other, and then the credits roll. Incredible.
Long story short, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling will steal your hearts, stomp on them, and the tears left over will ruin the makeup that you paid good money for. Even knowing this from experience, I still highly recommend a watch. Seriously.