This morning I found myself sitting in a cinema, waiting to be dazzled by La La Land, just over two hours later I left the screen, my eyes twinkling with specs of stars.
This modern day musical starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling as two creatives (an actress and a jazz musician) both with big plans but struggling to reach them. Inevitably Mia and Seb’s paths cross several times, and from there true love eventually follows; it sounds cheesy I know, but I promise you this beautiful body of work is the exact opposite.
Having seen one of director Damien Chazele’s previous films, Whiplash, I anticipated bold moves to be made in this contemporary piece. The aesthetics of La La Land are something to marvel over first of all, set in sun-drenched Los Angeles, the movie buzzes with bright skies, night lights and a sense of effortless cool with every move made. The script was slick and yet full of heart and soul, as Mia and Seb’s relationship endures blissful highs and painful lows. The story carries an ethereal quality with it, matching the sense of hyper reality created through the visuals.
Justin Hurwitz’s score for the film is the next fundamental building block in the film’s artistry. The intricate melodies weave in and out the story, and provide the film with the purest sense of grace, shaping the piece wonderfully.
Ryan and Emma are flawless as a couple, and well shaped as their individual characters; not once did the film feel silly and frivolous, but rather was kept grounded by their tremendous skills as performers. I had to stare, my expression that of dumbfounded, at Ryan’s ability to play the piano, embodying all the skills of a true jazz pianist. Emma adds an adorable quirky refinement to Mia, her voice soft and mellifluous, taking the universal role of ‘struggling actress’ and making it refreshingly sincere.
People didn’t burst into song every five seconds, nor do things work out as you might expect, there are many messages to be absorbed from La La Land and in it’s in the moments of silence that this musical really sings.