For the full Movie Bears Podcast review of ‘La La Land,’ check out the video below or read on for our mini-review!
Do you love jazz? How about love stories? Do old-timey Hollywood musicals set your heart aflame? If so, ‘La La Land’ – written and directed by Damien Chazelle (‘Whiplash’) – is absolutely up your alley! It’s chock full of wondrous song-and-dance numbers that fondly recall films like ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ and ‘Shall We Dance.’ And though stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone aren’t quite Fred and Ginger, they do a pretty great job of evoking nostalgia for those old, romantic musicals of yesteryear. If you are not a fan of jazz, rom coms, and 1930’s era musicals, however, the magic of ‘La La Land’ might not win you over.
Technically speaking, ‘La La Land’ is a masterful accomplishment. The dance numbers, musical arrangements, and elaborate visual stylings go far to delight the senses. Chazelle deserves a lot of credit and it will absolutely not be a surprise if we see Oscar nods for Directing and Best Picture go his way. Gosling and Stone are mostly excellent in their roles as the young couple that find their way together through jazz – Oscar nods here, too, wouldn’t be a shock. Since ‘La La Land’ is so much a part of the Academy Awards discussion, then, it’s definitely on the must-see list if you care about such things. But what if you don’t?
‘La La Land’ is a love letter to old Hollywood, pure and simple. And that’s great – nostalgia is an amazing thing. But not everyone is going to be swept up by the love of 1930s-1950s musicals. Jazz is also a complicated styling that just doesn’t please all ears. And given that a love story is at the heart of ‘La La Land,’ folks who aren’t quite fans of Boy-Meets-Girl stories might struggle. That’s why it’s so key to know going in what you’re going to get, otherwise you might walk out feeling rather blah about the whole affair — unless, of course, the movie somehow manages to pull you in and give you a new appreciation of its core elements.
Written by Brad Harris,