La La Land (2016)
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Rosemarie DeWitt, J.K. Simmons
Directed by: Damien Chazelle
Written by: Damien Chazelle
Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 2 hr. 8 min
La La Land is a love letter to creatives. Those who follow their dreams and create content in the hope to get that book deal, land that acting gig, or start their own music club. This movie pays homage to Hollywood musicals, jazz, and the battles talented people fight within themselves as they try to shine brighter than a million other wannabe starlets.
As a content creator myself (shameless plug alert! I wrote a book, click here), I ‘got’ this film and I enjoyed it. Its never-give-up-on-your-dreams message came through loud and clear. Especially during a beautiful moment in the film where Emma Stone sings, “Here’s to the Ones Who Dream.”
As a romance, La La Land is mostly successful, if somewhat predictable. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone have chemistry to spare, but a story about an actress and musician doggedly pursuing their dreams really had few places to go. The final moments of this film do, however, recap the central themes in this story nicely, and cleverly leave the audience satisfied that everything ended the way it should.
My only minor quibble, would be with the song and dance routines performed by Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Don’t get me wrong, they were fine, but just fine. I couldn’t help wonder if the movie would have benefited by having full-time song and dance acts play the leads. Ryan and Emma aren’t full time singers and dancers, and to me it shows. Their movements and vocals lack the kind of confidence and energy you’d find from say, a Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly, or even a Hugh Jackman or Kristen Bell.
If you like old Hollywood musicals, or either of the leads, you are probably going to enjoy this.
The film’s closing moments are worth the ticket price alone.