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La La Land Movie Review

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La La Land is a movie I have been looking forward to since I first heard about it right as the year began. It is directed by Damien Chazelle who directed Whiplash which was my favorite movie of 2014. I also love Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. They have shown that they have awesome chemistry, and they are both amazing actors. Also, with all of the buzz I’ve heard, I couldn’t help but get so pumped up to see this. I finally had the chance to see it, so let’s talk about it!

La La Land is directed by Damien Chazelle and stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as lovers trying to achieve their dreams in Hollywood. As they try to keep their love for each other, their careers begin to pull them apart. Can love prevail in a city where weeks turn into years, they pass so fast, and all the stars that never were are parking cars and pumping gas?

I had very high expectations coming into this movie just like I’ve had with plenty of films I’ve seen this year that have let me down. Well, La La Land didn’t let me down. It exceeded all of my expectations. I love this movie. First of all, La La Land opens with an entire singing and dancing number that is a continuous shot on Interstate 105 in the middle of Los Angeles. Right off the bat we see all of the colors, camerawork, and beauty that La La Land is going to give us for the next two hours. On top of the fact that it’s so amazingly well choreographed and timed, the song is great and meaningful, and it sets the tone for the rest of the fantastic music in the rest of the film. The music also gels so seamlessly. It fits right into the story perfectly, and I never thought that maybe a song shouldn’t go in a certain place. Each and every song fits like a glove. I also love this story. Between the story and the way this movie is shot, it captures what Los Angeles and Hollywood is really like. I mentioned that The Nice guys painted Los Angeles really well earlier this year. I think La La Land did it just as well, then it mastered the industry Los Angeles is famous for as well. I love how it plays with Hollywood tropes, and the reason they’re in this movie is all to poke fun at the idea of them while also showing the serious side of what it can do to people and relationships. I’ve been to LA multiple times in my life, but never have I seen it look this beautiful. The colors and shooting style of this movie make it look absolutely amazing, and it looks like a place where dreams come to life. I really hope we see La La Land get an Oscar nomination for Best Cinematography among others I would love to see it get nominated for.

I also have to acknowledge Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. They have such great chemistry, and they both give amazing performances. They do it individually and together, and that is what is so impressive. Emotionally, they work well as a duo, but apart they create that same emotion and likability that I wanted out of these characters. I love that I can tell that Damien Chazelle is so passionate about this film. It looks like his dream has come to life right before his and our eyes, and that makes me so happy while I’m watching La La Land. There’s actually even a line in the film that encapsulates exactly what I’m talking about, but I’ll leave it out of the review so that I don’t spoil anything. I love that it shows off Chazelle’s love for jazz music as well as classic movies and musicals. There are definite nods to movies like West Side Story and Singin’ in the Rain, and they’re done so well. It also has great nods to classic cinema either in posters or in direct acknowledgment that something has inspired the characters or the artists behind this film. I can tell that everything in the set design and screenplay was inspiring to Chazelle. It all meant something, and I loved picking out little pieces that individually made me smile. This movie is also so much funnier than I thought it was going to be. The screenplay is amazing, and I was smiling and laughing at the exact times I wanted to smile and laugh. I was also ripped apart at the times when I was supposed to be ripped apart, and I would see anything Damien Chazelle lends his brain to no matter what he works on because he makes me feel things. Finally, I love the time outline of the film. Time is used so well to paint the city and the relationship between Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, and I can tell when we see switches through character arcs and plot development.

Overall, I adore La La Land. It might just be my favorite movie of the year right now, and Damien Chazelle is someone I will always be happy to see involved in anything. This movie is so well-directed and written, and between Whiplash and La La Land, I think he is going to be a household name. Right from the opening shot, this movie nails everything it’s going for from beauty to tone to music. La La Land is one of the best examples of everything going right. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are amazing together, and their story is so great. This movie hits its notes (no pun intended) when it comes to displaying the city and the industry and how it both makes and breaks people. It’s actually funnier than expected, and I can see that Chazelle was so passionate about it. That makes this movie so much fun to watch. It has great nods to jazz music as well as classic films and musicals like West Side Story and Singin’ in the Rain, and it’s just so enjoyable for every emotion is exposes. La La Land is pure magic, and it is the most special movie in a very long time. It pulls out your inner dreamer and changes you for the better as a film lover, a person, and a creative mind. I’m going to give La La Land a 10/10.

Will you be checking out La La Land? Comment down in the comment section and let me know what you thought! Now that we’re nearing the end of 2016, what has been your favorite film of the year? Let me know down in the comments! Be sure to stick around for plenty reviews for the awards season to come! As always, thank you, and keep listening to 88.7 The Pulse!

PHOTO: Collider

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Justin Lyons

Hey, it's Justin Lyons! I am the Chief Film Critic for The Pulse. Have any questions for me? Please feel free to email me at movies@pulseradio.fm