La La LandVenice Film Festival 2016
La La Land is the latest picture from writer-director Damien Chazelle, the man behind the 2014 revelation Whiplash. This comedy musical brings together Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling who are, respectively, an aspiring actress and a purist jazz pianist dreaming of opening his own club. Chazelle’s film is a tribute to the Hollywood Golden age, playing heavily on the American dream offered by Los Angeles.
The picture starts with a bang, with irresistibly charming musical numbers, brilliant jokes and a magical feel-good atmosphere that permeates every minute of the first half hour. The dancing could have – and should have – been better: it’s smooth, and the dream-like backdrops are delightful, but the sound of tap shoes striking the floor rarely matches what we see on the screen.
Chazelle explores the effect of chasing dreams in personal relationships, and it’s not surprise that La La Land was conceived before Whiplash: there’s a noticeable resemblance with the plot of his 2009 debut Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench.
Thanks to her unique facial expressions and (apparent) naivety, Emma Stone has established herself as one of the most beloved and sought-after actresses for high-profile auteurial pictures. She’s the clear star of Chazelle’s movie, overshadowing a slightly toned-down Ryan Gosling, who also sings the official song City of Star.
Even if the script needs more structure and depth – there’s a dialogue in particular between the couple that is distinctly simplistic – La La Land has what it takes to impress the masses as well as the more snooty critics.
Filippo L’Astorina, the Editor
La La Land is released nationwide on 13th January 2017.
Watch the trailer for La La Land here: