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Sunday, December 25, 2016

(CIFF Coverage) La La Land Movie Review

The Trailer:

The Good:
Right off the bat you can tell that the cinematography for La La  Land is off the charts. It's simply a visually stunning film. The dance and choreography was definitely a highlight of the film as they were all executed perfectly. Given the fact that this film feels like a Broadway play in some instances, it was nice to see the camera rarely pull away during many of the song and dance routines. That essentially helps you really appreciate the excellent performances from the main characters.

Speaking of which, Ryan Gosling gets a lot of kudos from me for being able to really deliver with his piano skills. From what I could research, he spent three months learning how to play the piano, but in the movie he comes off as a life long pianist. Despite being the co-star, it goes without saying that Emma Stone ran away with this film. She had every opportunity through this role to display a full range of emotions that easily elevates her performance to new highs. (Wouldn't be surprised if she won an award for it.) Both Stone and Gosling's on screen chemistry is undeniable and carries the movie from beginning to end.

I also thought that the plot itself was a positive for La La Land. This movie will definitely speak to the dreamers and lovers alike. The ending of the film really helped to ground the film and drive home some great life lessons.

The Bad:
While this isn't true for all of them, just a few of the musical/dance segments really didn't seem to fit or flow naturally in the film. (Opening scene would be an example.) There were just a couple of times when it felt like some songs were placed into the film just for the sake of being a musical, rather than allowing the song/dance(s) to organically drive the plot. It wasn't often, but I do think that there were probably one or two sequences that could've been left out of the film, and simply help tighten up the pacing a bit.

The Reason:
I think it's worth admitting that I'm not the biggest fan of musicals. That doesn't mean that I hate them, or that I'm cynical about them. I just don't go out of my way to seek them out. However, I do believe that I can appreciate a good one when I see one, and La La Land was definitely one of the good ones. This film was like watching a dream on the big screen.

I think that fans of musicals will undoubtedly enjoy this film. My only concern is whether this will appeal to more casual movie fans. If you're in doubt, then I'd probably recommend checking out these Five Films To Watch Before La La Land by one of my fellow film critics, Don Shanahan from EveryMovieHasALesson.com. Otherwise, I'd recommend checking out La La Land in theaters whenever you get the chance.

The Rating: 9/10
My [Loosely based] Ratings scale
10-9 = A Must watch at any cost. 
8.5- 7.5 = Theater worthy 
7-6.5 = Matinee/rental worthy at best
6 = Watchable (If it's free)
5 - below = Avoid at all costs

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