La La Land is a musical directed by Damien Chazelle and stars Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling and John Legend. The plot of the film centres on Mia, an inspiring actress played by Emma Stone, and Seb, a struggling jazz musician played by Ryan Gosling. They meet and fall in love in Los Angeles and try to find the balance of maintaining their relationship and achieving their dreams and ambitions.
My Knowledge and Expectation of La La Land
This has been one of the most critically acclaimed films to have come out in recent memory. Truly, the critics/film pundits who I trust have all praised La La Land with aspects of the film such as the cinematography and the performances of Stone and Gosling in particular being heavily lauded.
As a result, this is a film which has been championed as potential sweeping all the awards at the Oscars this year. Musicals are a genre of film I am not well versed in so the main reason why I was interested in seeing La La Land, apart from the great reviews, was because of Damien Chazelle.
Damien Chazelle is a relatively new director within the film industry and he made his breakthrough in 2014 with his second directorial effort in Whiplash, a film that I think is absolutely brilliant. Because of this, I was excited to see what he could accomplish with La La Land.
Additionally, the fact that Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling were the leads in this film is never a bad thing to have as they are both extremely talented and have proved that they have great chemistry as we witnessed in Crazy, Stupid, Love. Consequently, I went into La La Land with high expectations.
My Thoughts on La La Land
While I would say that these expectations were not fully met, I will say that La La Land is a good film and there were things I liked. For one, Stone and Gosling give good performances and they had really good chemistry in the film. I also thought that this film was beautifully shot and paints a lovely if not idealistic portrait of Los Angeles.
I also appreciated the ending of La La Land which, while bittersweet, was a fitting way to end the film but I understand if people didn’t like the ending as it is not the traditional happy ending. For me, it worked well but, that being said, I do not think the film is the masterpiece that a lot of people think it is because it has some flaws.
For instance, I thought that the film could have been trimmed by 5-10 minutes to improve the pacing and I would have liked the musical numbers to have been spread out a bit more. For me, it felt like the musical numbers, while good, were mostly in the first act of the film. La La Land would have been better if we had a few more musical numbers in the second and third act.
Overall, La La Land is a good film with catchy musical numbers, beautiful cinematography and good chemistry between Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. However, it does have flaws in regards to its pacing and placement of the musical numbers which prevents it from, in my eyes, being the masterpiece that a lot of people consider it to be.