La La Land

When Damien Chazelle presented the world with his prodigious craftsmanship in the form of Whiplash, little did we expect him to wind up flinging at us a magnum opus of cinematic awe titled ‘La La Land’. Granted that both movies differ fundamentally, in that Whiplash is barely even a musical as much as it is a music based movie. But while Whiplash, is about larger-than-life characters in a very brutally realistic world, La La Land is about some very empathetically realistic characters in a larger-than-life setting.

This musical is in so many a ways such an ode to the classic musical era of around the 40’s and 50’s. For one, they literally lift out sequences from those movies and adapt them in this film’s context. All the outburst of colour was simply that much more louder this time (more so probably because of obvious technological advancement). One of my favourite things about this movie was the one take shots of song sequences with some form of a magically captivating backdrop of L.A.

Sebastian(Ryan Gosling) is a quality Jazz musician who dreams of saving Jazz from it’s seemingly dying fate. Mia ( Emma Stone) is a struggling actress, who willingly faces the brute of how difficult an industry the movies could be. Chazelle chooses to feature the entire movie in cinemascope that beautifully allows us to soak in every emotion our lead characters are dwelling in. The movie has it all. The ups and downs in the lives of our protagonists. The abrupt songs. Bittersweet ending. Chazelle impressively handles what could’ve been an extremely tricky tonality approach.

Both the performances by our leads are worth the ovation. The standout in their performance relies on the fact that their characters are driven through everything so believable and relatable despite having the chance of being superficial in a world that seems to have been ripped off from a fairy tale. The last few minutes of the movie deserves a special shoutout too.

The visuals are exquisite.The music is splendid. The narrative is engaging. I kid you not when I say that somewhere in between the movie, I actually found myself involuntarily smiling away right through it all. This is an absolutely delightful movie made for fools like me who love to dream, and also is definitely Oscar-winner worthy (even if they were so only for about 5 minutes).

 

-Anuj Raghuram

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