La La Land

In Films by James Hay - Cinema Editor

A Technicolour melange of fantastical dreamlike musicality, Damien Chazelle‘s La La Land is a gorgeous, potent and moving love song to a bygone age of golden Hollywood movie-making magic and to the potential and power of human love. It will sing and dance its way into your heart before gently breaking it in a kaleidoscope of stunning imagery and foot-tapping choreography.

Electric chemistry between the two leads and a bittersweet romance swirl together to make Chazelle’s second feature just as awe inspiring as his first (Whiplash), albeit they couldn’t be further apart in style. His debut was all restrained intensity and immaculately tight editing to emphasise the obsession of its protagonist. La La Land is as creatively bold and expansive as they come, giving form to the stratospheric highs and soul-crushing lows of romantic entanglement, launching Chazelle’s vision literally into the stars. And it’s the film’s stars who make that vision sparkle.

Ryan Gosling has long now been one of Hollywood’s leading men, combining his sex symbol status with an, often overly, understated pathos. Recently he’s taken on roles with a more comedic bent and here we get to enjoy the fruits of that process, he rails wonderfully between hapless hero and stone-cold screen icon. If Gosling is a star then Emma Stone is a burning supernova. She simply dazzles. In the dance routines both are a joy to watch but it’s Stone who steals the show, as your eyes play ping-pong between the two you’ll find yours wanting to settle on her. And her audition scene will halt your breath.

Whilst Whiplash won Oscars for editing and sound mixing, along with supporting actor, expect La La Land to pretty well clean up this year, having already broken the record for most wins at the Golden Globes and no doubt BAFTA following suit. It’s the kind of film the industry love because it’s about, well, the industry.

A uniquely realised achievement, appealing to almost every demographic out there without compromising its quality or content in any way, maybe La La Land can go to the top of that category of films that are actually good, dare it be said, original, and make a lot of money too.

Quite simply, GO AND SEE IT. And then go again.