By guest columnist keziahildetamar.
From the very first moment I found out Damien Chazelle directed this movie, I knew it would be at least be as awesome as Whiplash.
La La Land invites us to welcome the return of something lost: the revival of a golden age. This movie is great with its simplicity – enlivened by some Pulp Fiction-esque narrative tricksiness.
The film’s capricious genius is present in its opening sequence, making the world’s best flash mob perfectly captured by Chazelle’s sinuous camera with a riot of colour and euphoria. Subsequently Chazelle fully embraces the corny, but for all the film’s love of retro, it’s not dusty.
Following pairings in Crazy Stupid Love and Gangster Squad, Stone and Gosling have chemistry and charisma to spare. If Stone is the film’s heart, Gosling is the soul, caught between art and commerce, as moody as the genre will allow. The pair might not be the best singer and dancer, but the one value this film offers: simplicity. Good voices and agile dancing will overpower the dynamic of the stories.
Chazelle also builds upon the visual acrobatics of Whiplash, with camera weaving, swerving, swooping and flying around the performers in breathtaking fashion. The label “Hollywood” is seen in the ending, where I could rapidly guess that this will be as heartbreaking as other Hollywood movies. I would also like to give a standing ovation to Justin Hurwitz for lightening up this movie with such an adorable soundtrack that made my tears stream down.
Overall, La La Land isn’t a masterpiece, compared to Chazelle’s Whiplash. Yet it’s an elating ramble of a movie, ardent and full of feeling, passionate but also exquisitely controlled. It winds up swimming in melancholy, yet its most convincing pleasures are the moments when it lifts the audience into a state of old-movie exaltation, leading us to think, “What a glorious feeling. I’m happy again.”