La La Land (2016)
Critic Consensus: La La Land breathes new life into a bygone genre with thrillingly assured direction, powerful performances, and an irresistible excess of heart.
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Critic Reviews for La La Land
It's just gorgeous, like a flipbook made of dreamy vintage postcards that are somehow about contemporary life in Los Angeles.
La La Land is a worthy showcase for the magnificent Stone's talents, and she is heartbreaking throughout.
If you haven't already fallen for this gauzy romp through the city of Angels at this point, you surely will during the last scene, with its bittersweet homage to the way times goes by.
It asks what the characters of a Cinemascope musical would have to dream about, and answers with a finale that lifts the film to a higher plane of wish fulfillment and melancholy.
Audience Reviews for La La Land
I wasn't expecting to like this movie as much as I did. It pulls off a remarkable shift in tone around the midpoint, and I come away from it thinking that the main characters aren't Mia and Sebastian so much as Hollywood itself. The dramatization of the sacrifices made--the real cost--of becoming part of the fantasies of making it in Hollywood hits hard in the end, but it's not a downer, somehow. Lively, creative, and visually beautiful in places. If only these actors could sing, too...
While all musicals since West Side Story are inferior and therefore redundant by definition, this one actually works. Starting with a great number in LA traffic, it also helps that there is plenty of space for conversations between songs, are both are well written. Additionally there are a few pretty neat visual gimmicks, especially in the final act which even comes with a bit of a twist in the end. That's pretty sweet, entertaining and most importantly well acted. A genuine pleasure.
In La La Land the "City of Angels" is reimagined through the glorious sheen of the late 40s/early 50s Hollywood musical. For examples, watch An American in Paris, Singin' in the Rain, or The Band Wagon to see what I mean. What makes Chazelle's 3rd feature so incredible is how brilliantly he understand how to reference history. He skillfully recontextualizes the vernacular of the American musical for the modern age. The exquisite score by Justin Hurwitz, elaborate production design by David Wasco, those costumes by Mary Zophres, the Technicolor, the romance - La La Land's aesthetic borrows from history but the time period and the characters are rooted firmly in contemporary society. 2016 is all here: cell phones, Hybrid vehicles, the part-time job as a barista. Chazelle makes our present era seem so much more magical. There is an exuberant quality I haven't seen recently. Mia and Sebastian radiate sweetness too. This uncorrupted pair shares a purity. You want them to be together. Their emotion is real. You fall in love. This why we go to the cinema. If I may paraphrase a famous expression once said by Humphrey Bogart, La La Land is the stuff that [movies] are made of. It is sublime. fastfilmreviews.com
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