La La Land: a film for the ages

6 / 5 stars!!!!!!

La La Land is the story of two aspiring artists—Mia, a woman hoping to follow in the footsteps of her actress aunt, and Sebastian, a pianist who wants to bring back jazz—as they  pursue their dreams. Full of catchy songs, snappy dance numbers, and witty dialogue, La La Land explores Mia and Sebastian’s relationship amid their struggles of becoming established artists.

Review (spoiler-free for the most part)

I’ll admit, I was a little nervous to watch La La Land. I hadn’t been exposed much to musicals and they just didn’t seem like they would be my cup of tea.

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I had no cause to be worried. I absolutely loved it but regardless of whether or not you’re in my boat, I highly recommend you watch this film. (Check out this review by GQ if you think you don’t like musicals)

If you’re not convinced you need this film in your life, you should know that La La Land broke the record for most Golden Globe wins (7) and tied Titanic and All about Eve for the most Academy Award nominations (14).

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Everything about this film is brilliant.

Acting

It is undeniable that Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone have so much chemistry together. I loved their interactions together, which were full of sass and teasing. They also have a gorgeous old Hollywood look to them (particularly Emma Stone). The two leads are beautiful people in a beautiful film who did beautiful work.

For real though: Emma and Ryan did so much work for this film! They had to practice singing, learn to tap dance + ballroom dance, and Ryan had to learn to play piano on top of that.

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Fun fact #1: all the shots of Ryan’s character, Sebastian, playing the piano are actually him playing it. There were no body doubles used (although not all the audio was his playing).

Fun fact #2: Emma Stone sang “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” live on set during filming

Camera work

The camera work was stunning, with few cuts and lots of long shots, which seem very difficult on a technical level. I was just so amazed by the long takes, especially since there was so much singing & dancing going on that I imagine it would have been a logistical nightmare.

Costume

Emma Stone’s dresses were drop-dead gorgeous (my mom said she looks amazing even in a white-collared shirt). The colors were vibrant, the style was classy, and she looked elegant in everything.

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Dancing

I love coordinated movement to music. Everything was so precise: all the actors’ moves were in-time with the music and it gave the impression of absolute flawlessness—the cherry on top of the ice cream that was the music.

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Music

The songs are super catchy, mostly because the film is full of musical motifs. I personally love films that do this because it allows me to associate the music with certain characters/scenes/settings and essentially elevates the soundtrack to a character in the movie. I would list my favorite songs but I have no shame in saying that all of them were my favorites.

Story

Wow. The story was so compelling and very relatable. Sebastian and Mia’s respective successes had my inner self soaring while their stumbles made me often made me cry. At the same time, their relationship felt real (unlike many romcom relationships) and I was very emotionally attached to their love story. They are forever in my heart.

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Style

I can’t remember watching very many modern films that are so confident in their use of color. The one that comes to mind is Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel, and in fact, La La Land reminded me a lot of Anderson’s films because of its use of color, title cards, and rapid camera pans. The set designs also harkened back to the old Hollywood musicals from which it drew inspiration. It’s often hard to tell that this movie isn’t set in mid 1900s and this gives it a surreal look.

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Theme

Who doesn’t love a film about people achieving their dreams? The theme was well-established and well-explored over the course of the film and in the end, left me feeling bittersweet but satisfied.

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For everyone who hasn’t watched this yet, I urge you to go. You will not regret it.

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If you have watched it, let me know your thoughts on La La Land as well as all the other Oscar nominated films! I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t watched very many but I’m definitely planning on getting onto it soon. Happy watching!

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2 thoughts on “La La Land: a film for the ages

  1. Zhi says:

    I really wanted to watch the new Star Wars, but my girlfriend forced me to go watch this movie instead. Although I was skeptical at first, I eventually grew fond of the movie. Even now, I can’t stop listening to the soundtrack! Great review!

    Like

    • katinhattalks says:

      Thanks for leaving a comment! I’m glad you got a chance to watch the movie and I’m really glad you came to enjoy it! I feel the exact same way-I can’t stop listening to the soundtrack too!

      Like

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