La La Land

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Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling sing and dance their way through a joyous modern-day musical about the ups and downs of love and life in Los Angeles

The young writer-director Damien Chazelle has followed his Oscar-winning drama 'Whiplash' with another entirely novel film steeped in the world of music. His soaring, romantic, extremely stylish and endlessly inventive 'La La Land' is that rare beast: a grown-up movie musical that's not kitschy, a joke or a Bollywood film. Instead, it's a swooning, beautifully crafted ode to the likes of Jacques Demy's 'The Umbrellas of Cherbourg' and Stanley Donen's 'Singin' in the Rain' that plays out in the semi-dream world of Los Angeles and manages to condense the ups and downs of romantic love into a very Tinseltown toe-tapping fable.

'La La Land' boasts stars to fall in love with: Ryan Gosling is Seb, a brooding pianist and jazz purist who dreams of running his own nightclub, while Emma Stone plays Mia, a more sunny studio-lot barista and aspiring actor who dreams of putting on her own plays. The film follows them from winter to fall and back to winter as they meet, argue, flirt, fall in love and face a growing conflict between their personal passions and romantic hopes.

There are tender and imaginative moments to die for: Stone mouthing along to a cover version of 'I Ran' at a pool party; the pair watching their legs discover the power of tap while sitting on a bench; the two of them flying into the stars and waltzing while visiting Griffith Observatory - a moment inspired by a trip to see 'Rebel Without a Cause'. There are songs, there are dances (and Gosling and Stone prove easy naturals at both), but there are plenty of straightforward scenes too, especially as the mood sours. Some of those can drag, as if they've floated away from the film's core, but there's usually a showstopper nearby: one late solo number by Stone - an unadorned, conversational singer and a hugely endearing presence throughout - is heartbreaking.

The look of Los Angeles in 'La La Land' could be called Demy meets Edward Hopper: all pastels, soft light, twilight and street lamps. It's set now, but only just, and the film somehow has a timeless 1950s vibe to it too, as if the golden age of musicals was playing out in our own time. The film's delirious, sideways, play-within-a-play view of Hollywood nods a little to the warped likes of David Lynch's 'Mulholland Dr' or Terrence Malick's 'Knight of Cups'. But this is a far sweeter, more generous film, offering up a place where artistic ambition and heady romance can co-exist, at least for a while, and breaking into song and dance can be both deadly serious and a whole lot of fun.

By: Dave Calhoun

Posted:

Release details

Release date: Wednesday January 13 2016
Duration: 0 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Damien Chazelle
Screenwriter: Damien Chazelle
Cast: Emma Stone
Ryan Gosling
J.K. Simmons
John Legend

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LiveReviews|69
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Alexandra L
1 of 1 found helpful
Tastemaker

Flawless. This film is absolutely flawless. I loved everything about it, I’ve had the soundtrack on repeat for days now and if I could, I’d drop a giant, heart eyed emoji in here right now for extra emphasis. First thing’s first, if you don’t like musicals, this is not a movie that’s going to change that opinion. It’s bright, it’s bouncy and from the opening number featuring over a hundred singers & dancers rolling across and jumping off gridlocked cars in LA, it’s unapologetically fabulous. The story follows Emma Stone’s Mia (aspiring actress) and Ryan Gosling’s Seb (ardent jazz pianist) as they meet time and again in the City of Angels and their relationship as they navigate the choppy waters of aspirational stardom but don’t for one moment think that the message of the film only applies to those reaching for fame – anyone who has ever had a dream or an ambition or a longing to do something, anything with their lives, will be able to recognise themselves in these people.

There’s an awful lot to like about these characters; their love story, particularly with the arguably unexpected ending, is one that’s already set up camp in my list of all time celluloid favourites. Their voices are sweet rather than soaring and there are no emotion-wrangling, Idina-Menzel-channelling ballads – in short, I believed every single word they spoke and sang, Stone being especially mesmerising in all her audition scenes. Gosling’s skills on the piano are undeniable and the long single takes that swoop around rather than cut away from him and his ivory-tinkling hands are gorgeous. He’s also every bit as funny as anyone who’s seen the majority of his back catalogue will know him to be – I’ve never seen a man rock an ‘80’s guitar with such fantastically hilarious pain. John Legend has a great supporting role – and one of the best musical scenes in the film – and JK Simmons is reliably awesome as the restauranteur who forces Gosling to play Christmas carols on repeat as oblivious diners chow down around him.

Mia & Seb’s chemistry is undeniable – the hand holding scene had me holding my breath – and their dance numbers are a sheer joy to watch and a testament to the work put in to make it look so effortless – there are nods to gems of the golden age of musicals of course but they honour rather than imitate and Justin Hurwitz delivers a score that blends upbeat, infectious, impossible-to-ignore numbers with a melody that flows throughout and manages to wrench the heart before getting the toes tapping.

It’s one of the most gorgeous films I’ve ever seen on screen – the colours dazzle & pop but in a way that feels entirely appropriate, modern and never forced. From the everyday scenes to the balletic sequences and the truly vintage end credits, Los Angeles – a city I adore – has never looked better with its sugared almond, candy floss skies and legendary backlots bringing the world of film to life in a way that was both recognisable and breathtakingly refreshing. Do I doubt that Mia and her West-Side-Story-esque room-mates could really afford their frankly fantastic apartment? Sure. Were there moments when I thought ‘hey that would never happen in real life?’ Yep. But that’s the beauty of musicals – they take you out of real life for a while and the really good ones, the really really good ones, well they leave you thinking about real life without even knowing it. It is possible tackle heavy going issues with a song and swirl of technicolour dress and if you disagree, I suggest you take a day to watch ‘West Side Story’, ‘Carousel’ and pretty much the entire works of Sondheim.

To call this a labour of love for Damian Chazelle seems an understatement when you consider it took him 6 years to get this made and to call him an accomplished director seems a poor way to describe a man for whom this is only his third feature film as director – this is a man who knows how to create something stunning to watch & listen to on the big screen and I cannot wait to see what he turns his hand to next.

Teodora T
1 of 1 found helpful
tastemaker

For someone who's not the typical musical fan (myself!) and usually avoids watching musicals, La La Land was a revelation. Better than its reviews, better than its trailer, better than all of its award nominations combined, it's restored my faith in good cinema and made me believe there is more to Hollywood! 


It's real, it's powerful and the last 10 minutes will grab you by the throat unlike anything you've seen recently. A true masterpiece!

Georgie
1 of 1 found helpful
Tastemaker

A friend of mine said on facebook that if you're looking to experience "emotional trauma" you should go and see La La Land. My friend is an idiot. This is not a traumatising film. It is one that will have you wishing you had embraced those tap classes your parents tried to make you take as a kid, and have you rushing home to download the soundtrack as soon as possible! It is magical and beautiful and up-lifting.


The film admittedly doesn't end how you'd expect, but it's not sad. It's just a bit of a shock - it's unexpected, because we've been trained to believe love stories in the movies always end happily ever after. But the thing is, this is a musical, where people suddenly break into song and dance and that isn't realistic, but this ending transforms it into a more real story... and I still left the cinema feeling uplifted and happy from a beautiful film with stunning scenes and cinematography. 


It's set in the now, but there is a timeless feel to it, from the beautiful free floating dresses (I bet sales of yellow dresses are about to sky rocket!) and suave tailoring, to the relaxed jazz based soundtrack. It encapsulates the romance of Hollywood movies, with a rose-tinted filter that makes you forget how fake and horrible that industry and world is.


The music is sublime. The melodies are beautiful and romantic with stand out songs naturally being the Oscar nominated City of Stars, and Emma Stone's Here's To The Fools. Gosling proves once again that he is a perfect human being with his incredible piano playing WHICH HE LEARNT IN 3 MONTHS! 


This film will scoop up at the Oscars. I haven't seen any of the other nominated films but if either of these two are going to take home the best actor/actress gong, it's going to be Emma... she seems so real in this film. I want her to be my friend. I also want Gosling to take me dancing. 

jutney
Tastemaker

Oh my, what a disappointment! I know it’s always dangerous to go with high expectations (I really like the actors and musicals), but I wasn’t prepared to be this let down! The acting, of course, is good; particularly Emma Stone who deserves the Oscar she got, playing all emotions a young actor can go through.

But the beauty and fun about musicals is that all the singing and dancing seem effortless, natural even: There is not a second in this film you don’t notice the effort. From painstakingly beautiful and colourful scenery/setting/figurine to the singing and dancing, it all gets too exhausting! Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are not singers or dancers, and it shows – even if you can see how hard they working on that (or maybe that’s why...) Equally, the photography is really beautiful, all the time, extremely so; you just don’t get the chance to (breath and) appreciate it! And on top of that, it makes us (definitely me) envious – I need Emma Stone’s dresses! I want them all! ;-)

FloA
tastemaker

I actually went to see La la land feeling like I should do so, expecting something pretty cheesy...
Turns out I have been surprised in a really good way. 

Obviously there is a love story involved but the development is quite unforeseen and much more interesting than a classic romantic movie.
I am a pretty big fan of musicals originally so I supposed it's easy for me to get into the dancing / singing mood but I've discussed La la land with other people afterwards and we all agree and the quality of the songs, sets and choreographs.

It is a must see.


mcuttle
Tastemaker

I'm never one to believe hype so watched this on a plane with no real expectations. This didn't blow me away at first but as the love story develops it actually turns into a bittersweet love story with some touching moments, subtle acting and some great musical numbers. It's not as 'staged' as you may think with some of the musical parts just being jazz performed as you'd see in a jazz club. Charming, and also a tear jerker at times, I'm not in the 'love' or 'hate' camp, but I liked it!

Sarah R
tastemaker

I didn't jump on the LaLa bandwagon as soon as the movie came out and everyone was running to the cinema to watch it. I thought- ''Meh, another Hollywood musical production? No thanks. Maybe I'll watch it in few years’ time on TV.''

But critics appeared to have loved it and then the whole Oscars thing happen...it was grey, rainy Monday afternoon and since this seemed like extremely cheerful movie, I decide to swallow my pride and follow the trends, like a sheep. I haven't seen the trailer for it or read any of the reviews, so I didn't expect much, just 2 hours of mindless watching and hopefully something that will make me forget about my worries and make me go home with a smile on my face.

Movie starts with a cheesy, colourful scene where everyone is singing and dancing on LA highway. Over the top sure, but I thought it was silly and entertaining, although hoping that wouldn’t be the theme for entire movie. I think I wouldn’t be able to sit through whole movie of singing and dancing scenes. I took a deep breath and hoped for the best. And the rest of the movie was…..great!

Visually it was spot on, lots of scenes make you think the movie is actually set in completely different time, not modern day LA, but then they have all the people driving Toyota Priuses, which confirms it that this indeed is very much set in present LaLaLand time. Entire movie is very much different from what I expected it to be, and the reason I liked it so much is because I found it to be nostalgic, melancholic, and even sad.

It’s a movie about dream and yearning for that life that seems so 
unattainable and perfect and makes you believe this is the only type of life that will make you happy. You would give up everything for that lifestyle, even true love, because without being at that point of success, you will never be truly fulfilled and happy.

Emma Stone plays the dreamer, her eyes are telling a million stories. Ryan Gosling is being his charming self and is there to tell few jokes and make light of the situation. Singing scenes are not very frequent and you just kind of get lost in the movie, even in the scenes that contain barely any dialogues.

This is a story about trying to achieve something in your life, fulfil your life’s purpose. It did make me leave the cinema with a smile on my face, but it made me think quite a bit, and made me just a little bit sad, because not everyone will get there in the end.

Ana M
Tastemaker

Charming musical - though some of the musical numbers are in fact quite weak and the singing not up to scratch in parts, the story more than makes up for it. 


It's surprisingly heartbreaking - I was expecting a light-hearted homage to the old days of Hollywood but left in floods of tears at the end - it becomes a brutally tragic tale of love lost! So come prepared.

Milly E
tastemaker

I wish La La Land hadn't been quite so hyped up. Had I stumbled across this film I think I would have enjoyed it so much more without the crushing expectation that I was about to encounter the best musical since Les Mis. 

Having said that I really enjoyed it in it's own right. A quiet and unassuming love story that moved me to tears when the inevitable cracks began to appear. Emma Stone is quite frankly the most glorious thing ever to hit the big screen and she broke my heart more than once. 

It's also beautifully filmed and made me want to fly to Hollywood immediately despite never previously having the slightest desire to head there. 

I would recommend - but go with an open mind. 

Neil K
Tastemaker

Forgetting all the hype for a minute, this is a nice fun film that's well made extremely well choreographed, with a super catchy score which will likely have you beaming from ear to ear for the duration of the film and beyond. While its popularity probably stems from the fact that it is so universally accessible, since when has that been a bad thing? While I can also understand how some people find it all slightly nauseating, I'm happy to let them off on that count. The film also gives you a whirlwind tour of the nice bits of LA, many of which have been documented many a time in many a film, but then again that's Hollywood for you, or La La Land even!

Sarah B
Tastemaker

Quite literally the all-singing, all-dancing award-lavished movie of the hour. The shamelessly theatrical opening number sets an almost worryingly flamboyant tone and despite being incredibly well choreographed I must admit I was concerned about what was going to follow for the next 2 hours. My fears were short-lived. I felt a faint jealousy toward the cast building with every scene as I imagined just how much fun this must have been to make. I was won over by the music, the popping colours and the humour laced into even some of the most emotional moments. And I must admit, even that gaudy first number has grown to become my favourite since as I have had the soundtrack on repeat ever since leaving the cinema!

Julie R
Tastemaker

I have a confession to make, despite being determined not to, I really enjoyed this film.


I had seen trailers and posters for this since the BFI film festival and it looked to me like the sort of film that I would hate.  I don't like musicals, or films that are too jolly and happy.  I really didn't want to go and see it.  However, as nothing else was on at a convenient time, I begrudgingly went.


I was very impressed with the start of the film - how did they manage the whole scene on one shot?  I was fascinated by this bit even though I don't normally like the cheesy singing.  We then met the two main characters and it was refreshing to see that they seemed like two normal people trying to achieve their dreams, bickering like you or I.  Some people say they don't like the fact they weren't the best singers or dancers, but I think this added to the charm of them being normal people with dreams.  At the time I did find the film a bit too long and feel it could be cut down a bit, like where it goes off at a tangent in the observatory or at the audition.  I was quite traumatised by the ending, which was not what I expected.  My son said he thought it was the best ending ever, but I was quite depressed by it. 


I came out of the cinema thinking the film was OK and better than I thought it would be, but it stuck in my mind, especially the song (City of Stars) for a few days afterwards and as I processed it, I realised that the film was actually something quite special and is a worthy contender for the Oscars.

Vike S

Granted, I loath musicals. But I loath empty cliched scripts more. The opening scene is a complete mediocre dud. Annoying in its forced cheeriness and absolutely stupid in its concept. What's next? An opera aria warbled from a series of iron lungs in a Walmart parking lot. The two leads are almost certainly two of the easiest people to work with in Sorrywood, where product is the name of the game. Neither is convincing. Their hammy posturing and preening got on my nerves quickly and stayed there. To make matters worse, neither sings or dances very well. That, ladies and Germans, is what they're paid to do for most of the film. Now. Everything old is new again. I get it. Fine and even the esteemed Cohn Brothers tried to rescuitate the moribund musical in parts of "Oh Caesar". And I get Howwywood likes to salute itself. But here's the irony. The final pointless sequence in the plot and film showed you that, had they wanted to, they could have made a visually stunning musical

Worthy of the phrase "made in Hollywood" placed in the final credits. They did not. Trite script, mediocre music, semi-passable dancing, and you don't care about a single person in the movie, including Emma Stone - who was the wrong choice for the part and can really act if given material and not the equivalent of intoxicated slurred ideas on a cocktail napkin. And Ryan Gosling learned piano for this. It's like learning swimming for Waterworld. Hate is too strong a word for this mediocre faux film.

Chelsey C
Tastemaker

I'd hyped myself up a lot for this film considering the amount of coverage and award nominations it has received.

I am a fan of musicals but La La Land left me feeling disappointed.

The songs were not catchy or often relevant to the scene (in particular the opening scene) and some parts just felt too far fetched for the type of film this was.

Ryan Gosling shone through (doesn't he always); showcasing talents other than acting and saying 'Hey Girl', with his singing, dancing and piano playing. Emma Stone on the other hand came across as needy and awkward with her performances and at times made me feel uncomfortable.

A good lazy Sunday film (that I would probably fall asleep to)

Chlo Fo
Tastemaker

With a full blown musical opening, I started off concerned that this film was going to be another horrendous Grease style flick, but thank goodness it wasn't. This is true Hollywood glamour brought bang up to the modern day, it's got all the brilliant aspects of all the old classics, but is peppered with modern day reality. Stone and Gosling steal the show with their top notch acting (and actually not bad dancing and singing). Only pitfall In my eyes is the music, don't get me wrong it's pleasant enough, but not memorable, like you'd expect from a musical of this scale. You'll laugh, you'll cry, but one thing's for sure it will go down in your fave films list.

Vera S
tastemaker

Well, boo hiss. I didn't think it was overhyped, but alas, it certainly was.


I was very disappointed in La La Land, but the worst part is I don't think it's because of the hype. It's simply because it had so much potential and it fell face first. This is meant to be a musical, for crying out loud! So having weak singing voices with tunes that never stick with you; and two actors carrying a non-existent story without any chemistry on screen, it is honestly sad that critics are saying it's reminiscent of a better period of cinema. Bah, humbug. It is not even close.


Those of you comparing it to Singin' in the Rain and other masterpieces, shame on you. The one scene where Emma and Ryan perform something that mildly resembles tap dancing is what is meant to be the all-deciding purple backrop love scene that we see on all the posters. Instead again, a completely forgettable scene with a very average dance routine (compare this to 'The best things happen when you're dancing' tap routine performed in White Christmas!).


Emma Stone loses all her charm in this film, I can't remember why I thought she was amazing in the first place. Singing is not her strong side - acting is. But not in this film. The story is honestly non-existent - nothing happens, there is no plot, no dreamy musical sequences, so really there is no reason to watch La La Land, not even when you're desperate.


P.S. What's going on with Ryan Gosling's hair in the last scene? Guys??!!

OnlymeElena
tastemaker

I'm relived that it's not only me who found it a bit disappointing. Yes, the movie is nice... but nice isn't something you would expect for the movie which was soooo much inflated by the media and numerous awards nominations. Both Emma and Ryan are excellent and this is probably what makes the movie good. Otherwise, it's a bit cheesy and on the verge of being boring. Very predictable mentality of 'you can build your own future'. I agree that you should pursue your dreams but the movie made it a bit idealistic. 

Positive and fresh musical, that's all. 

Jonnyboy
tastemaker

As musicals go I found this one to be a breath of fresh air. It isn't your staple sing-a-long stage show put on the screen, in fact I didn't find the songs particularly memorable or catchy but still left with with an utter feeling of joy which I don't always get.

Ryan Gosling plays Seb, a jazz purist who dreams of owning his very own jazz club. That is until he meets Mia, played by the very talented and utterly scene stealing actress Emma Stone. She's working as a varietal trying to make ends meet whilst following her dream of becoming an actress. These two have incredibly chemistry and the energy both together and apart is mesmerising. The audonce follow their ups and down, (trust me when I say you'll need tissues by the end.)

The writer/director Damien Chazelle shoots the film beautifully taking the audience from a place of reality to an almost near dream-like fantasy, mixing modern day with a 1950''s edge throughout the film flawlessly.

MissLDN
Tastemaker

Don't get me wrong - I liked the movie. It was a nice escape from a cold and rainy day in London, but I don't understand the hype that is surrounding it.


It's a nice approach to remind us of some of the 50s cinematic values, but classics don't usually start of as ones.

I was expecting a lot more and was hugely disappointed - at one point it felt like the movie had no ending and only the music (which is undeniably great) kept me going. I think on a technical scale LLL proves a lot - the colours, sets, costumes - are vivid and gripping.


Unfortunately I would no go as far as to say, that LLL is up for an Academy Award in the "important" categories - Gosling and Stone play their roles well, but in my opinion not exceptionally.


All in all it is an uplifting movie and I would recommend it, but not praise it for something it failed to be in the end.

LondonTastePirate
tastemaker

Hype is a dangerous thing - I was expecting the best film I'd seen in years, but got an averagely-interesting romp with some good music and pretty dresses. However, it was interesting to see Ryan Gosling play a slightly different character from his usual role and Emma Stone was likeable as the female lead. The film also raised some fairly interesting questions, about life and the pursuit of dreams - from a different angle to the director's first film, Whiplash. I felt that these themes were only really confronted at the end of La La Land, which unfortunately robbed it of the intensity of Whiplash. Worth watching, but not more than once at the cinema.

Chris
Tastemaker

A quirky take on classic musical movies set in modern day LA. If you hate anything that's pastel coloured and whimsical you'll hate LLL, but if you're a secret romantic, jazz and big dance numbers you're guaranteed to love this one.

O. Gordon
Tastemaker

This is a solid film. It carries an air of quality to it, not unlike Damien Chazelle's first film Whiplash, and is wonderfully slick and polished. But that's about it. Why it has won, and been nominated for, countless awards is beyond me. It's a bit of a fluff piece, lacking in any great statement or unspoken truths, and one that ends on a sort of underhanded paradox (it's either love or success, not both). 


The performances are good. I'm not normally a fan of Ryan Gosling but he has certainly shot up in my estimation. Even still, none of the set pieces are a patch on old Hollywood films (I'm talking Astaire here). Considering how beautifully put together it is, the DOP needs to fire his focus puller. The amount of times a close up was soft nearly brought me to a bubbling rage. 


This by no means a bad film but it is completley over-hyped. Nostalgia seems to be a winning formula in politics at the moment: seems it is in film too. 3.5 out of 5. 


Toni S
Tastemaker

I know the year has only just started, but this has to be my favourite movie of the year.


The loveable Seb (Ryan Gosling) and the beautiful Mia (Emma Stone) sing and tap their way into our hearts. I could personally not think of anyone else who could have better played these roles. It's a heartwarming story that will leave you with a constant smile, albeit the story line is slightly up in the air, like any good musical drama should be.

La la land is set in the pastel-ly portrayed and perfectly lit Los Angeles with scenes breaking in and out of the catchy, foot-tapping-worthy music - not quite jazz though. The cinematography of La la land is absolutely beautiful. The jazz inspired music is perfect (so much so I immediately downloaded the entire soundtrack once i got home from watching it). All the ingredients you need for a great musical. It deserves all the 14 oscar nominations it's been nominated for. 


I thoroughly enjoyed La la land and can not wait to go watch it again, and again. I feel like even if you're not into musicals, you would still be able to appreciate this movie. 5 stars!

Chia-wen L
tastemaker

No spoiler alert here. Please read away if you like.


I have mixed feeling about this film. Can't say that I love it nor hate it. Mainly disappointedly by all the good reviews I read before I went to see the film. 

I am a huge fan of musical theatre, and I generally enjoying the musical films.  However, La La Land does not quite make it into my favourite film category. I wish there were more group singing and dancing scenes. In my opinion, the highlight of the whole film was the traffic scene they shot on the highway. When the song was finished, they were a round of applause in the cinema just like a live musical show. Which made me really excited about what is going happen next. Unfortunately, the first song set the bar so high then everything just went downhill from this point. 


If you are a fan of Jazz music. I would recommend Whiplash (2014) from the same director, Damien Chazelle. Whiplash shows more intense emotions between the music and the characters than La La Land. 

nicknickn
Tastemaker

I understand why this movie has had such mixed reviews. The plot has holes, the storyline is unlikely, the dialogue is stilted on occasion, the music is not quite jazz.....

However, I enjoyed its inventiveness, the cinematography is amazing, the soundtrack is pretty and the ending is perfect and touching. I love the complexity of the final scene and I love the final song, a definite homage to "An American in Paris".

The opening sequence sets the scene well, if you don't like that, you can leave early, because you won't like the rest of the film - it has the best dance routine and it lets you know that you are going to touch reality only intermittently.

The good parts of this film are so good that you want to overlook the less good bits. Overall it is one the best films that I have seen in years.

I hope it wins some Academy awards; definitely best cinematography, probably best original score, possibly even best director and best film.


Parklife
tastemaker

Trying not to fall for the obvious hype machine, I intended to enjoy the film on its own merits. The well orchestrated opening scene sets the tone for the entire film. The notorious LA traffic jams have never been more fun. Despite the rumours of who else could have played the roles, you really can not see beyond Ryan and Emma's highly engaging performances. You really do share their aspirations to make it as serious artists. There are some genuinely funny moments, notably the 80s cover band at a pool party. The technicolor cinematography harks to a bygone era. Although the ending isn't quite the one we're all rooting for, it seems appropriate. I defy you not to be humming any of the tunes for the rest of the day.

Lucy Loo
Tastemaker

La La Land is an absolute slice of heaven. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face for days after watching this fabulous film. If you haven't seen it, you must, you won't be disappointed!

Marco D
tastemaker

A true romantic, upbeat musical full of pure entertainment, energy, charm and life.

I didn't know what to expect from La La Land, all I know is that it sounded a little silly.

That was the first thing in my mind.

I then saw a trailer and it began to become a huge deal. La La Land truly wasn't here to play around.

We all know the amount of awards that it has won for best film and so on, but for me it felt like it was missing something. Almost incomplete.

Don't get me wrong, I thought it was a spectacular film. Both Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling did a tremendously brilliant job to create this story, to create this musical come to life on the big screen.

If your not really into romance or musicals, then obviously this film is not for you.

It started off with a bang, with a catchy musical track that I sang for a while after seeing the film.

The cast sang and performed 'Another Day of Sun' on what looked like one of the busiest roads in Los Angeles. It was a perfect start to the film.

I just loved how the camera was always unstable, always moving around. I felt like I was the actor or I was part of the film. I was transfixed into each part of the scene.

It was completely enthralling to me as a viewer.

It gave me a 70s/80s vibe and I loved the old, but modern feel to the film. It was captured and filmed immaculately.

Two star-crossed lovers bound to be together, but with a sad twist.

The best scene for me was when both 'Mia' (Emma Stone) and 'Sebastian' (Ryan Gosling) danced and perform a beautiful number on the middle of the road called 'A Lovely Night'. I smiled throughout this scene, it was simply gorgeous.

I also adored listening to Mia and Sebastian's theme song, at times it made me cry.

It was an unexplainable emotion.

Emma Stone is magnificent, I have nothing to say. Looking through my list of my favourite actresses, Emma is definitely one of them. She has this incredible fire that she brings to the mood of her character.

Overall La La Land gave me the emotion and the romance. For me it needed a bit more dance, I wish I could have seen a bit more of that involved into the story.

I was expecting more movement. It had the movement, but I wanted more.

The ending took me, it wasn't what I wanted to happen. I didn't want it to end this way.

It was very sad and the look that Mia and Sebastian share said it all.

It's so worth while to go and see it.

#TOTastemaker

Love MD.

Kirsty S
tastemaker

Not to fuel the Oscar fire but La La Land is the stand out film of the year for me. 


Beautiful, funny and sometimes heartbreaking; realism meets the crazy out of world la la whirlwind of Hollywood with a massive smack in the face. Emma’s performance is stunning, Ryan effortless- together they pull offa modern classic. 


Bang on delivery with comedy, dance and drama.Be warned, the ending will fill you with so much raw emotion- it really is a cracker.

Elizabeth P
tastemaker

Believe the hype. In my opinion this is exactly what Hollywood is for. A bright and energetic spectacular of a film. The story had a moral, without being soppy. The characters did things to make you like them and roll your eyes at them. The scenery was stunning. The music familiar, almost Disney esq, with the perfect blend of joy and pathos. I've been humming it all weekend.

The dancing and singing had a vulnerability about it and I was impressed by the decision to cast 2 leading actors who were good at these things but not intimidatingly so.

I'd read reviews commenting on how seamlessly they had taken devices directly from the golden era of musicals and slotted them into a modern setting and couldn't quite believe that would be the case. But it is. It's current and nostalgic all at once. I just loved it. As much as I admire serious filmmaking, with the World in a haze of madness it made a nice change to sit and smile at the screen for a few hours.

Jboyle14
tastemaker

There is definitely a danger that this has been hyped too much, therefore expectations are too high going in (and possibly reflected in people's reviews). However its ambitious, inventive and so pleasing on the eye. Rarely does someone have the conviction to make something this bold in a world of sequels and book adaptations. It is not without fault but the soundtrack is fantastic and original, the story line is more complex than it initially seems and it's a really great piece of escapism

Annabel-Zoe
Tastemaker

This film was very entertaining and did really hit some romantic emotional nerves that made you really get into the story. However, the ending wasn't as I expected (well...what I wanted) and I think bittersweet romance musical is probably the best way to describe it. I have to agree with John C, it had a very Woody Allen vibe to it, could definitely liken to themes in Café Society. An easy watch, but not sure I will be recommending people to go to the cinema to see it.

John C
tastemaker

Good, but not great. 14 Academy nominations - do me a favour.

If there was an award for re-cycling original ideas it would have an extra nomination. There is nothing wrong with borrowing from others (thank you Jacques Demy/ & Gene Kelly, & even Woody Allen). Or as we like to say "paying homage". But 14 Academy nominations ( not to mention Golden Globes etc.etc.) - I don't think so. If the film hadn't appeared with such a ridiculously overblown fanfare I would probably enjoyed it more.

Luisa G
Tastemaker

Lovely film! The dancing and the songs were really lovely. One of the songs was very haunting, and it stuck with you the entire film. The singing itself isn't very strong, but it was a lovely film to watch, and left you with a smile on your face!

Jamie Evans

The most overrated film I have seen in years. Comparisons with the the classic Hollywood musicals are laughable. Having watched "Paterson", "Silence" and "Manchester by the Sea" in succession, this movie was not even in the running whether it be musicals, dramas or any other genre. Apart from a stunning opening sequence, reminiscent of "West Side Story" all it offered was a confused plot line, amateurish singing and dancing and an odd take on jazz. What actually did the Gosling character see as pure jazz was never revealed and his piano miming was awful? But the LA cinematography was great. So disappointed. 

ro S

i didn't like it.. dialog very messy, mix of slinding doors & a bad copi of fred & ginger. music , photography & costume very beautiful

Sophia M
tastemaker

Excellent! I loved it - and not just because Ryan Gosling is in it ;-) 


Emma Stone was wonderful and even though you go to the cinema expecting it to be just another romantic, cheesy love story of which the outcome we have seen one too many times, it's not. It is so much more than a typical rom-com. It is about being young, having dreams, taking risks, giving up and getting right back up again. It's about love, envy, passions and let-downs with a lot of singing and dancing. I really think its brilliant and I will gladly watch it again!

T. W.
tastemaker

Massively overhyped I am afraid. The story is fun, it's a sweet film, the music is good, not great; the acting is fine but not as good as something like Manchester By The Sea. Gosling's performance was sometimes lacking... also the director's insistence in filming a number of the scenes in single takes (fun to watch) was spoilt by moments where the image was soft... not good. When you have low-light situations it's very hard to get a tight focus this is made harder when you have a moving camera and with a single take you don't have the chance to cut away to 'fix' it. It was distracting. 


And a basic plot hole... Emma Stone's character professes her dislike or more accurately her disdain for jazz and yet the first moment of their meeting is when she is drawn into the depths of a dark club but the jazz piano acrobatics of Goslings character! But if she doesn't like jazz... why? I enjoyed the dance numbers, well done and they did an impressive job. But wow, not worth all the signing and dancing! Yes we haven't seen films like this for a while but this does not make it a 5 star film; sorry...

Pauline F
tastemaker

La La Land is the most talked-about movie right now, and it will be for a very long time. It came out at the right time, when the world needed a 2-hour window of infinite sweetness. 

Visually, it is impeccable. The colours are popping, the light is perfect, the costumes are dashing. You might get a bit confused after the opening scene, but it gets you right into what is at the heart of the film, its music. The soundtrack is catchy, lovely and inviting, specially the instrumentals. I was not massively impressed by the voices of the actors, but they deliver everything with depth. The dancing, on the other hand, is poetic and beautifully executed. It is a modern-day romance with everything in it : the sweetness, the struggles, careers, dreams. The love story between Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling's characters is everything but cheesy, is romantic, is far from a standard rom-com.

If you are a romantic, you will fall for this movie and want to see it again (I know it's now one of my favourite movies ever, and would want to see it as many times possible). If you are a bit reluctant, bear in mind this is from the same director as Whiplash! 

Tara P
Tastemaker

LaLa Land. Does it live up to the hype? In many ways, yes. It is a film of two times, planting elements of classic Hollywood romance into a modern-day fable about following your dreams. Emma Stone's performance is compulsive viewing, combining fragility and emotion with a realistic helping of gritty determination intermingled with self-doubt. Most of the musical set pieces are bewitching and beguiling, and can simply be enjoyed for their aesthetic beauty and emotion, rather than necessarily their relevance to the plot. However, those that don't focus on the romantic leads hit a rather dull note - without their chemistry to hold your attention there's little toe-tapping catchiness to fall back on. Overall, it's relatable, entertaining and pleasing to watch, but it falls rather short of being a five-star classic. Unlike the best musicals, it doesn't leave a lasting impression. You may struggle, a day later, to remember a song, or consider a scene, or think of how much you'd like to see it again. Artistically, it's wonderful, but in many ways LaLa Land embodies the Hollywood parties it pastiches: entertaining at the time, but unlikely to lead to a long-term friendship.

chelseadust
tastemaker

I am biased, if I watch any film starring Emma Stone or Ryan Gosling I will more than likely love it to bits. La La Land stars both these gorgeous and talented actors, the bonus is they fall in love! The film is beautifully shot with vibrant colours throughout. Emma Stone's bright yellow dress is still stuck in my mind. If you didn't already know, the film contains a lot of singing and dancing. Even if musicals aren't your thing, you still might enjoy La La Land, it's not overdone and it's far from cheesy. It also gets pretty emotional, so be prepared for tears.. 

Mazzie Cee
tastemaker

This film was a whimsical journey of the rise and fall of Sebastian and Mia’s relationship, set against a LA backdrop.

I loved this film more than I thought I would. It contains a few catchy tracks and an awesome piano performance. The dance numbers are reminiscent of 1950’s musical films, which is really cool to see as it’s set in modern times. It’s not all solid singing, there is a lot of unsung dialogue.  There are some very funny moments too – especially when Sebastian has to perform in an 80’s band. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone deliver top performances.  

I loved the ending. It is more of a girly film. My other half didn’t seem to appreciate it so much. 

Stephanie C
tastemaker

Likened to Singing In the Rain I loved this new feel modern technicolour all dancing and sining film. I am a big fan of Emma Stone, a versatile actress. You can hardly believe the actress dancing in front of you also starred in SuperBad. Ryan Gosling also learnt the piano for this film which I think shows the amount of energy and effort everyone put in this film. It's a firm favourite of mine and I hope it wins lots of Oscars this year.

Tiago Almeida
Tastemaker

Arty movie with clever cinematogrophy. A film to see with your partner or perfect for a date. Phenomenal acting by both main characters. Jazz inspired music with a feel to stepping back in time to old Hollywood

Lily C
tastemaker

A beautiful film with brilliant colours and a quirky, romantic storyline. The songs and dances were cutesy and entertaining to watch and the lead characters were extremely believable. The film was a joy to watch but sadly for me didn't wow me enough to give the full 5 stars!

Elisa R
Tastemaker

La La Land is exactly the kind of innocent beauty the world needs right now.

Ryan Gosling's incredible talents playing the piano, dancing, acting, being funny and singing is remarkable as always. Emma Stone is absolutely charming, showing both her famous comedic power and her gift at playing an array of emotions – her strongest scene being singing For those who dream.

Half-American, half-French (had to put a bit of chauvinistic pride in here) director Damien Chazelle, who also brought us Whiplash, brilliantly brought back to life a genre that had died decades ago after its golden age in France with films like Les demoiselles de Rochefort, that have always inspired him. It's such a happy film and will bring light in your life, even though I must say, I don't agree with the bittersweet ending but I guess it's more realistic depiction of real life. You will laugh a lot, you will cry a lot, you will in general be an emotional mess by the end of the film. The colours, the clothes, the love story are everything I love. But what surprises me is to see such unanimous critiques as it was really niche and I wouldn't have expected most men, for example, such as my boyfriend, to be fans but, somehow it works. I guess the way Chazelle films music, especially jazz has a lot to do with it.

I have been listening to the soundtrack ever since I've seen the film, which means that I do not walk anywhere anymore but jump and dance down the street instead like a total lunatic.

To sum it up, this film is absolute beauty and I recommend to anybody to see it!

Danette
tastemaker

Set in our time yet reminiscent of decades gone by, La la land promises to be as timeless as the themes it builds on: love, dreams and music. Were it not for its end, La la land would be another sweet romcom, blending great tunes, dreamy scenes and protagonists you can easily fall in love with. But as you approach the finale, you discover its clever and realistic touch, with a generous hint of nostalgia: La la land is not just a story about romance and the pursuit of one’s dreams, but a reminder that depending on the path we choose, life comes in many flavours, each bitter-sweet in its own way. The movie reminds us of something we probably all know: we cannot have it all and choosing one path over the other inevitably renders some chapters unlived. But that’s ok. And that (as well as an unforgettable piano tune which lingers on long after the lights have come one), is what you take away as you make your wait out of the cinema.

Matt Brady

"La La Land" is simply wonderful. It's a firework of joy and excitement that it's really hard not to fall in love with it. I'm already looking forward to "First Man".

Ioanna La
Tastemaker

What's not to love about La la land? The amazing performances, the fresh groovy songs, the dancing, the romance, the stunning LA in the background, the colourful dresses? Observing two young people falling in love and trying to overcome their struggles of chasing their dreams, as "cheeky" as it may sound, this film is a pure contemporary masterpiece. Flawless is the word. I didn't realise how the 2 hours went through. It may look like a chick flick but it is not. It is a great musical that made me dancing on my seat for most of the time and bursting into tears at the end. I got obsessed with the music - I keep listening to the soundtrack since I watched the film. Highly recommended!

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