What I find most striking about La La Land is its beauty.
Damien Chazelle’s original Hollywood musical isn’t perfect. It has its share of head-tilting moments — an opening musical number which tests your commitment straightaway to what you think you’ve come to the theater to see — and it’s maybe not a movie I’d watch over and over, despite its leading lady. But it’s no less an awe-striking work of cinematography, with all of its vibrant color saturated in perfect light.
We see it throughout the film, in all of the smallest jazz clubs, but most admiringly in the film’s final musical number — co-stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling’s largest dancing sequence together in the film, bits of which you’ve seen in the previews but can’t begin to measure up to the end product.
Stone (as Mia, an aspiring actress) and Gosling (as Sebastian, a struggling jazz musician) are big dreamers testing the limits of love and ambition. In doing so, I also think the film tells a meaningful story about how love can help you become the person you’re meant to be.
Save the biggest praise for Stone. While both actors sing and dance, it’s Stone who seems to take her character to deeper, more vulnerable places emotionally, as Mia watches Sebastian find success which leaves her wondering if she’s good enough to find hers.
“La La Land”: ★★★