By Helen Tona (Melbourne, Australia)


At first I was skeptical about watching the critically acclaimed 14 Oscar Nominated movie, La La Land… A musical movie written and directed by Damien Chazelle who also wrote and directed Whiplash. Staring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone and I know from previous movies they have done together that their chemistry is undeniably magnetic.

Firstly, what is this movie about? In my own words this movie follows a Jazz Musician (Gosling) and Actress (Stone) as they follow their ambitions all the while falling in love and facing the obstacles that come along the way. Do they stay together or do they part ways? You’ll have to watch it for yourself and find out.

At first glance it’s a “love story” but it’s not just about romantic love but also finding love within yourself and finding love and passions in what you want to achieve in life too. It is such a breath of fresh air to see a movie made with such passion and inspiration that is not an adaptation, sequel, prequel or re-boot, something that is made in originality and created from scratch, and even harder making it into a musical! This movie gives you a chance to escape reality, to dream big… even if it seems impossible.

Everything about this movie screams OSCAR! I want to bring up music which is the crux of this film. For me jazz brings me home… there is something about the sound of a saxophone and the bluesy melody that takes me to a different time and space, I can’t explain it! It makes me feel like I am at one with the divine whatever that may be. Even though this movie is set in present-day, the music and for most part of the film is staged as an old-Hollywood black and white for example, Singin’ in the Rain. We see some big music stars also appear showing how jazz can be the music of the future, such as John Legend who plays Keith, a Jazz Musician with a modern funk twist, which makes you want to get up and boogie. An Oscar nomination is up for Justin Hurwitz for Best Original Music Score.

The Cinematography is breathtakingly beautiful from the swirling camera movements like a musical instrument, the spotlighting as if the characters were on a stage performing, the choreography of the dancing and the non-cutting of scenes felt like you were floating in the air or on a cloud. The scenery made you feel you were right there in an Old-Hollywood. Damien Chazelle wanted every camera movement to be in sync with the music, the dancing and the singing. It’s a sight to see, magic was made here. A Best Cinematography award is up for Linus Sandgren.

Gosling and Stone’s performance as mentioned earlier is always a pleasure to watch but we got to see a different side of their skills, their singing, their dancing and of course their acting. Everything just worked, you felt their love, you felt their pain, you felt their strive for success. Their magnetic chemistry throughout the film made you wish you had a love like theirs, I know I did. A best Actor and Actress nomination is up for both Gosling and Stone.

I loved everything about this film!! I fell in love with movies and the art of cinema all over again after watching this, I suggest you do the same! A best original screenplay and direction nomination is up for Damien Chazelle and best picture is up for Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz and Marc Platt.

Rating: 5/5



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