It’s rare that a film is released and could possibly be considered a future classic. La La Land is one of those films. Bordering on perfection, the musical masterpiece has hardly a single flaw. It deftly weaves between blissful surrealism and gut-wrenching reality, painting a traditional story across a modern canvas. The performances from Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are both extraordinary, the writing is quick and biting but sentimental and methodic when it needs to be, and Damien Chazelle’s steady direction is a terrific follow up to “Whiplash.”
Both Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling shine in the film but it’s Stone’s turn as Mia, a struggling actress in modern Hollywood, which is the real highlight. Stone has proven herself before to be a talented actress but this is her finest role yet. The film features many long takes and watching Stone develop her range of emotion without interruption is truly something to behold. While it’s her performance that drives home the very real struggle Mia faces, the chemistry between her and Gosling brings it forward even more.
The two have worked together in previous films and the duo feels completely natural. Every moment on screen together is picture perfect. Sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking, from their first meeting to their final every second is a beautiful portrait of two struggling artists in a world that has passed them by.
The screenplay stands out as well. The musical doesn’t always feel like a musical. It easily flows and every song seems perfectly warranted, never forced. The story between Mia and Sebastian is beautiful and every moment feels real. Throughout the entire film the two have highs and lows that all feel natural. The film is devoid of clichés, instead opting to rely on the powerful performances of its leads.
The film is Damien Chazelle’s directorial follow up to “Whiplash,” and it exceeds the already loft expectations. Every scene is clearly painstakingly rehearsed but feels as if it’s the first take. The joy and vibrancy of the musical is reflected in the color palette and the lighting creates and atmosphere that surrounds and envelops the two main characters. The film feels as though it’s their world and nothing else matters. It is expertly pieced together.
La La Land is a rare film. It is able to create emotion from completely natural progression and relay its themes and messages to any audience. The film is a beautiful story of two traditional people in a modern world and the struggle they face together. It’s beautiful aesthetically and emotionally. La La Land is not only one of the best films of the year; it’s one of the best films in recent memory.