“La La Land” (2016)
Directed by Damien Chazelle
Starring Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling
Running Time 128 Minutes, Rated PG-13
4 Mitch’s out of 5
When Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling smile at each it’s enough to make one sing and dance. Turns out it makes them sing and dance as well.
Damien Chazelle dazzled everyone with his critical darling debut “Whiplash” earning him a screenplay Oscar nomination and winning J.K. Simmons the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. With that momentum, Chazelle did not rest on his laurels but instead went bigger in scope, bigger in music, and bigger in stars. His latest, “La La Land” an MGM musical that is both a love song to the grandiose musicals of yesteryear and the City of Angels itself with its transports that dream of stardom.
Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling pair up for the third time and better than ever. The two’s natural chemistry is unparalleled in young Hollywood, and they don’t disappoint here. Gosling is a brooding Jazz pianist with dreams of reigniting the dying genre and opening his own club, while Stone has left her small town of Colorado to make it big on the big screen and show them all that she’s got ‘it’. Their characters find each other and fall for each other, and when that rough patch hits it’s Chazelle’s snappy crisp dialogue and our leads impeccable talents that transcend the love stories you’ve seen countless times before.
Oh, and let’s not forget that this is full blown musical that is actually made like they used to be, and the result is a grin from ear to ear for its viewers. Watching Gosling tap dance as Stone belts her notes out makes for a wonderful return to the musical genre that captures that great nostalgic feel while not just depending on nostalgia to get by. It makes you remember the classics while still feeling, looking, and sounding bold and fresh. While Gosling is strong and proves to be also incredibly funny instead of just great looking and dramatically talented, his character pales in comparison to the depth that Emma Stone delivers upon. This is her movie and she nails it.
Romance is in the air in Chazelle’s latest, and it’s infectious. “La La Land” is lovely.