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Review

Stunning film ‘La La Land’ is more than just another musical

February 1, 2017

A good movie should at least entertain the viewer for the two or so hours they sit and watch it. A great movie makes the viewer forget they paid eight dollars to see it. A phenomenal movie makes the viewer want to walk out of the theater after the credits and walk right into the next showing and see it again. “La La Land” does this and much more.

“La La Land” is a musical/drama/comedy written and directed by Damien Chazelle and starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling.

The movie focuses on Mia, a struggling actress trying to make it big in Hollywood, and Sebastian, a jazz musician trying to open his own jazz club. Both characters meet after bumping into each other a few different times and eventually fall in love. However, both must make sacrifices to pursue their own dreams.

What makes this film so great isn’t its plot, but rather its impeccable execution. Everything from the choreography, set design, performances and of course the music is done so incredibly well and in a way that fits the movie perfectly. If I had to describe the film in one word it would be “magic.” When everything comes together, it creates a distinct feeling of elation and excitement that screams “Hollywood.”

The musical numbers in this aren’t too over the top. In fact, two of the biggest ones happen right at the beginning. After this most of the musical parts of the film focus almost exclusively on Mia and Sebastian. These performances range from the two dancing in a park to both of them sitting at a piano and singing the film’s main theme “City of Stars.” This song is what ties the entire movie together and it makes its appearance in almost every major scene, sometimes in a very subtle way.

One aspect of the film that I found very authentic was the singing by both Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. Both actors did their musical performances on set rather than lip syncing to a track. And while some may complain that their voices aren’t professional enough, I think that is what brings the film down to earth. They are like people who sing in the shower, but they do it other places, too. These characters are just normal people trying to make it big in Hollywood, not professional singers and dancers acting on a stage.

If you do see this and are not entertained by the music, dancing and acting then you should at least have a few laughs. Callback jokes are very prevalent here, and to me that is an excellent type of comedy because it rewards the viewer for paying attention. Adding this comedic layer really gives just about any viewer something to love in this movie.

All in all, “La La Land” is something very special. I’m not really a fan of musicals, but this goes beyond that. It’s a movie that entertained me every second it was on the screen and made me laugh and cry at moments that are truly unforgettable. There is no doubt that this film will be grabbing awards hand over fist in the next year, and it deserves every one of them.

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