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La La Land (Review) A Love Letter To Old Hollywood

Award season is upon us. Nominations are shaping up and campaigns are in high gear. La La Land is a critical darling with the classic Hollywood sheen. Hollywood loves a movie about itself.. and this is sooooo Hollywood. It oozes old-timey musical vibes from it’s drastic opening to its lovely, melancholy finale. There is a lot of praise surrounding La La Land and after seeing it for myself I understand why. This movie, it’s style and it’s two leads charm you every moment and leave you with a small smile on your face.

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La La Land is a musical about two young people living in LA trying to chase their dreams while falling for one another. It’s a simple love story. It’s also a story about dreams, achieving them, settling, and the sacrifices we make for them. Director, Damien Chazelle, loves music (Jazz specifically) and uses it tell stories. Although Whiplash is a better film, La La Land is bright, beautiful and hard to ignore. It doesn’t spend much time on character motivation or development. Mia wants to be an actress and Seb has a burning love for old school Jazz. That’s all we get. Where Damien chooses to focus his energy is on the set pieces. The song and dance sequences are fantastic. There’s one scene overlooking LA that was simple but dazzled me with its intricacies. The finale, like I mentioned earlier, is a film onto itself, worthy of its own award. It was beautiful and proof that when direction, stage production, costume, lighting, music, and performance come together they can literally make magic.

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Ryan Gosling does a splendid job as Sebastian, a lover of music, who wants to open a jazz club. He has tough guy accent that threw me off initially, but I grew into. He’s charming but not gushing with it. He’s reserved enough to seem genuine. America’s national treasure, Emma Stone, is the star of the show. She plays Mia, a barista looking for a shot at fame. Emma is doing most of the heavy lifting here and she delivers a phenomenal performance. The two of them together work well. Bounces perfectly off one another with quick dialogue, snappy dance numbers of naturalistic vocals.

I loved this movie. It might be the best ending I’ve seen all year (2016). I haven’t wanted to go to LA more than after seeing this. Emma Stone was already one of my favorite actresses, and now she’s cemented her spot. Damien is a genius and his love and passion for music and cinema shines through every frame of this movie. I’m literally listening to the soundtrack right now. Check this out if you haven’t.

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