REVIEW: A True Delight, ‘La La Land’ Is 2016’s Most Charming Film

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, who’ve co-starred before, reunite on screen for “La La Land,” which is arguably the best movie of their careers.

A true love letter to old Hollywood, “La La Land” kicks off by telling the story of Mia (Stone), an aspiring actress in Los Angeles. The key word is aspiring, as Mia is unable to catch attention in her auditions. Gosling, meanwhile, plays Sebastian who’s also a hopeful artist.

Sebastian is a pianist who’s all about jazz music and has a goal of opening a jazz club. Eventually, the two characters meet, a relationship develops and the film explores the effect it has on their dreams.

“La La Land” is a wonderful picture that can pull audiences in with both its charming story and delightful musical numbers. The set up for the characters in the first act, how it builds their relationship in the second and the finale in the third are all superbly well crafted for example.

The relationship develops at a phenomenal pace, too, never going too fast or slow and as a result, it’s much more believable and compelling. The romance, combined with the appreciation of art and the enchanting look at Hollywood make for a incredibly captivating picture.

One of the reasons the movie works so well is because of the performances from Gosling and Stone. The two play their roles so convincingly and as a result, an audience can relate to them, root for them and hope that they accomplish what they’re trying to do.

Both leads also pull off somewhat of a balancing act, where they bring the passion and energy necessary for a musical while still having subtlety at times to make their characters feel more real. The two also share a tremendous amount of chemistry together on screen.

The best part of “La La Land,” though, is how well it was put together. Director Damien Chazelle and Cinematographer Linus Sandgren along with the rest of the crew have created a masterful work of art. Nearly every shot in the film is perfect while the lighting and color set the mood in every sequence.

Credit also has to go to the editing, especially during the musical sequences. The music and dance choreography featured was also beautiful and deeply moving. The songs that are featured in the third act are especially powerful.

“La La Land” is a real gem, it’s a film that gets everything right. This one is highly recommended. 5 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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