Friday, December 16, 2016
Movie Review: La La Land
I will say this about La La Land: both the music and the movie itself will have you thinking about it at least a day later (as I am, still, as I write this review). The cinematography is beautiful, too, but the movie is a little slow throughout.
Mia (Emma Stone) is working as a barista on the Warner Brothers lot as she pursues her dream of being an actress in Los Angeles. Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) is working jazz gigs as he tries to save money to open his own jazz club. Their "meet-cute" is more of a road rage-type thing - they're stuck in traffic on the freeway and Mia takes a little too long to move, so Sebastian aggressively beeps at her; she returns his gesture with a hand gesture of her own. Later, they meet again at a party, and Mia realizes they have chemistry - they start dating soon after. The film starts in winter and takes us through all four seasons with the couple, until circumstances start to tear them apart.
The acting here is great, and I can see why Stone and Gosling have been nominated for a ton of awards already for their roles here. J.K. Simmons also has a small cameo in the movie. Although the film takes place in modern day L.A., it has an old-time feel to it - from the throwback studio logos at the beginning, to the cuts and transitions throughout, this feels like a movie from the '20s or '30s, rather than present-day.
Yes, see this movie. La La Land already swept the Critics Choice Awards, and it now has the most nominations of any movie going in to the Golden Globes (which will air on January 8th), so I was very curious to see this film. Although it took me a bit to warm up to it, and I can also make the case of it being the saddest movie I've seen in 2016 (up for interpretation, of course), I ended up really liking it overall, despite some slow scenes throughout. This is not the first joint movie for Stone and Gosling, either (Crazy Stupid Love, Gangster Squad, etc. being the others), and you can tell - they have a natural and easy chemistry throughout the film that makes this movie great.
La La Land is in theaters today, December 16th, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 128 minutes. 4 stars out of 5.