Damien Chazelle creates a love letter to dreamers, creativity through latest film ‘La La Land’


A still of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in ‘La La Land.’ Gosling portrays a jazz pianist who falls for an aspiring actress [Stone]. The film broke indie box offices records on opening weekend, making an estimated $855,000. Image source: lalaland.movie

If you think that any movie involving Ryan Gosling or Emma Stone is one worth seeing, you are absolutely right. “La La Land” is by far one of the best films released this year and serves as a reminder of why we love to make and see movies in the first place.

Written and directed by Damien Chazelle, whose past credits include “Whiplash,” “La La Land” stars Emma Stone, as an aspiring actress named Mia, and Ryan Gosling, who portrays a struggling jazz pianist named Sebastian. Both characters remain completely enchanted by the past while trying to survive in present-day Hollywood, which is filled with harsh rejections and ever-growing competition.

The real tension in “La La Land,” though, is between ambition and love. Although the musical portrays a charming boy-meets-girl story while accurately depicting the brutal reality of trying to make it big in Hollywood, it also explores the challenges that come with balancing relationships and success. How do you celebrate a loved one’s triumph when you yourself are failing? When does a passion become unrealistic? Can rejection ultimately win?

The chemistry between Stone and Gosling is apparent from the beginning, and they carry the storyline effortlessly. Although they constantly fall in and out of love, when Gosling and Stone share screen time, whether for a spontaneous dance number or blow up fight at home, the audience will not be able to keep their eyes off of them.

The opening scene of the movie features a freeway traffic jam, a dilemma that we Angelenos know all too well. Each driver sits in their car listening to their own music when one woman steps out of her vehicle and many more follow. The screen is suddenly filled with a colorful, perfectly choreographed flash mob. Suddenly, though, the magnificent music stops, the performers get back into their cars and everyone begins to drive away.

However, Mia remains distracted, practicing lines for an audition in her Prius, and Sebastian aggressively swerves around her — this is where their story starts. Yes, it begins with a honk and a middle finger, but it also includes a flash mob, so what’s not to love?

Each scene is filled with bold colors and choreography that are reminiscent of Hollywood’s Golden Age; the audience’s eyes will not be bored for a second. The cinematography and direction are equally breathtaking– there is truly no other way to describe the film.

Chazelle’s creative vision is unparalleled and absolutely magnificent. He seamlessly intertwines fantasy and reality into a single story, and every second brings something new and exciting. Sebastian and Mia share each other’s passions, successes and failures together. Chazelle somehow manages to establish a dreamy, la-la-land-like setting for a story that is filled with such pain and heartbreak.

There are countless iconic landmarks featured in “La La Land,” including The Griffith Observatory, Angels Flight and Watts Towers, many of the scenes performed in an extended single shot. John Legend also portrays a friend of Sebastian’s, which makes for a fun, entertaining supporting role.

Simply put, “La La Land” is a gift from the movie gods — a whimsical film that encompasses drama, comedy, heartbreak and of course a magical story all in one. While Chazelle’s tale is set in modern-day Los Angeles, it celebrates Old Hollywood while fully embracing the present. “La La Land” is a love letter to dreamers and creativity, as well as Los Angeles itself, where hopeful, passionate individuals flock in pursuit of their dreams.

“La La Land” has already won several awards, including the New York Critics Award for Best Picture, but this is only the beginning of its acclaim from critics and moviegoers alike. The film also broke indie box office records, earning an estimated $855,000 on its debut weekend.

Currently, it is playing in several theaters throughout Los Angeles, including The Landmark at Westside Pavilion, AMC Century City 15 and ArcLight Hollywood. The film has a running time of 2 hours and 8 minutes and is rated PG-13 for some language.

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“La La Land” is an incredible film that will inspire audiences with its one-of-a-kind cinematography and compelling storyline. Both Gosling and Stone portray their respective characters brilliantly, and writer/director Damien Chazelle has created an instant new classic — a masterpiece for the ages.