Old wine, updated bottle – La La Land Review

Almost won Best Picture.

La La Land, the third musical in Damien Chazelle’s canon after the brilliant Whiplash, tells the story of a struggling actress – Mia Dolan (Emma Stone) in LA who falls for a jazz musician – Sebastian Wilder (Ryan Gosling). While not as intense as Whiplash, La La Land does have a few things going on for itself. So how does it fare?

Honestly, I could go either way.

La La Land works for an audience which is completely immersed in its premise, its setting, its storyline. That’s not a far-fetched achievement, evident from the opening scene. The lengthy camera tracking, the bizarre coordination, the music and the choreography give a taste of whats to come. What works for La La Land is Chazelle’s direction, who has now established as a formidable musical director with only 3 films to his credit. It’s his brainchild. Everything – the cinematography, the production design, the acting performances, the score, the songs – works. You feel for the characters, you marvel at their performances (singing and otherwise), you are invested in them from the beginning to the end.

But it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

Musicals have a danger of being an acquired taste. Even the best of them make the spectators roll their eyes from time to time. The plot takes a backseat to the music. As far as realism goes, take La La Land with a pinch of salt. It is a technical achievement, a movie full of heart. But its got issues that don’t go away.

Rating : 3/5

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