Written and Directed by Damien Chazelle who previously brought us Whiplash, and that was without question my favourite film of 2015, quite possibly one of my favourite films of all time! This is the second film from Chazelle now where music is very much a character of its own. La La Land comes off as something of a love letter to the classic musicals of long ago, but it also has a rich and endearing story to boot.
La La Land stars Ryan Gosling a struggling pianist who’s terrified that jazz is dying and wants to open his own jazz bar, in the hopes of opening people’s eyes to the genre. Then you’ve got Emma Stone who’s an aspiring actress and we see her go along to multiple auditions, but despite every single one of these auditions being truly breathtaking, we constantly see her ignored or turned away, sometimes within seconds of walking in the room. Gosling and Stone’s characters frequently run into each other on the streets of L.A. and it doesn’t take long for them to fall madly in love. They encourage and help one another to grow, but not without issues along the way. Gosling’s character even talks about chasing your dreams at one point by saying that “It’s conflict, it’s compromise and it’s very, very exciting!”. That in itself acts as the perfect summary for this film, I couldn’t describe it to you better myself.
Now as I said earlier on La La Land is something of a musical, and I’m just going to come out and say it right now, if I had to pick my least favourite genre of film it would have to be musicals. So I surprised even myself with just how much I enjoyed this film, and that’s because quite frankly there’s not a lot to dislike. Everything is just so well done, the direction is tight, the script never misses a beat, the performances are a delight and the music manages to be catchy without ever being cheesy or annoying. It’s already snatched up a tonne of awards at the golden globes and I see no reason for it not to continue doing so. Films of 2017… you’ve got some tough competition to beat, the bar has well and truly been set 10/10