La La Land

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There’s a magic moment early in “LaLaLand” — after boy-meets-girl-and-they-rub-each-other-the-wrong-way— when Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone break into an avoid/attract dance on a hilltop overlooking the Los Angeles night skyline. It’s meant to evoke a moment in “Top Hat” when Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers break into dance during a rainstorm while singing “Isn’t This a Lovely Day.” The moments are similar and yet very different, especially when Emma Stone sits on a bench, reaches into her purse and pulls out a pair of dance shoes.

Therein lies the charm of “La La Land:” it is both an homage to and a spoof of classic Hollywood musicals of the mid-20th century. It brings forward the charm and optimism of the past and grounds it in the edginess of the present. Director-writer Damien Chazelle (who established his musical chops with the sensational “Whiplash”) carries this thematic duality throughout the film, creating a wonderful progression of moments of humor, romance and surprises — especially the ending.

Jerry Weissman

 

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2 Responses to “La La Land”

  1. Of course La La Land has buzz, Oscar prospect and runaway Golden Globes winner. We went and frankly its nice, but its not great. The opening number on a jammed 405 is wonderful, and in our view the film goes downhill from there. It is just not enough of a musical to be a musical and not enough of a movie to be a good movie.

    Having said that its worth going for Emma Stone who is remarkable.

  2. am totally with you jerry. i love this film – although am sucker for any homage to jacques demy. if you like umbrellas of cherbourg do yourself a favor and go see la la land.

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