La La Land (Damien Chazelle, 2016) USA



Reviewed by Natalia de Oliveira Segreto. Viewed at screening for film students at Antioch University during Santa Barbara Film Festival 2017.

La La Land opens up with a very exciting and breathtaking music number on a Los Angeles freeway. While dealing with traffic and stress from everyday life, drivers take part in the very vivid, colorful and dreamy world proposed by director Damien Chazelle. Bringing the audience together with what seems like a long take, the first scene counts with barely four different cuts. The energetic number sets the musical tone very rapidly, preparing the musical genre lovers for what it is yet to come.

Pursuing fame and success, we follow Mia struggling between being a bartender and getting call backs for becoming a recognized actress. Graciously interpreted by Emma Stone, Mia finds Sebastian in a couple of funny encounters that brings them to really intertwine their lives. Sebastian, a jazz pianist brought to life through Ryan Gosling also struggles seeking a work place where everyone admires what he does, jazz. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone find in their acting together a kind of humor and delicacy that makes us naturally and urgently follow what is on stake when it comes to simply following your dreams and managing their relationship.

Betting with a very capable and creative crew, Damien Chazelle together with Art Director Austing Gorg and Producer Designer David Wasco brings in their character’s costumes their mood and undergoing theme of their relationship. Acknowledging Los Angeles’s beautiful sunsets, cinematographer Linus Sandgren works a lot bringing up a sense of a fairy tale within the chaotic city. Accounting with nice references to classic movies like Singin’ in the Rain, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Funny Face, Sweet Charity and many more that come very naturally to our eyes. Choreographer Mandy Moore happily recognizes how fun and nice for her it was to work with Damien and the whole crew while trying to figure the tone of the choreography.

The film not only specially pleases hopeless romantics and musical lovers, but brings us all to mindfully follow every thoughtful and complex characters with exciting numbers and charming music.

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