When I saw director Damien Chazelle’s previous film Whiplash I commented that the final section had pulled everything together and left me speechless.
Well, he’s done it again! Just as I was beginning to feel like my interest in the characters was waning slightly, he pulls out the most touching, beautiful, heartbreaking sequence that draws everything together and brought an unexpected tear to my eye.
For all the talk of old-fashioned musicals being reborn, there is actually much more going on here. It asks us deep questions about our youthful dreams,
Perhaps when we were all younger and full of future dreams the world appeared to us in Technicolor, much like the musicals of the 50s, and Chazelle captures this as his characters strive to fulfil their own dreams. The musical interludes are just right – they convey the mood perfectly, assisted by some exquisite lighting throughout, almost acting as a visual leitmotif. The scene in the Griffith Observatory which leads to the couple’s first kiss put me in mind of a scene between William Holden and Kim Novak in the 1955 film Picnic – the moment where they both realise they are in love with each other. Check it out here.
And let’s talk about the central couple. I’ve now seen Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in three films together – Gangster Squad (not impressed), Crazy Stupid Love (where they were great together) and now La La Land. They were so good together that part of me hopes they never work together again, that they just leave things the way they end between Seb and Mia in the final scene of La La Land. It’s the best work I’ve seen her do, and I love this side to Gosling.
The tiny gripes I had were along the lines of ‘what happened to her friends’?, why has such a self-professed fan of classic movies never seen Rebel Without a Cause?, and that we saw slightly more of his career than hers, but I already feel the need to see this again. And again.
Plus, am already planning a new wardrobe which allows for Stone-esque skirt swishing.