It’s unsurprising that writer-director Damien Chazelle has an affinity for music. Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench featured MGM-musical style choreography, and the Oscar-darling Whiplash depicted the horrific torture of a perverted music teacher-student relationship. In comes La La Land, Chazelle’s third film, which seems to meld the technical and narrative styles of his first two pictures.
Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) are starving, struggling artists. Though she’s a PA, Mia wants to become an actress, but keeps getting rejected in auditions. Similarly, Sebastian bounces from jazz club to jazz club, tickling the ivories to make ends meet. And so they meet; they fall in love. Because it’s a romantic movie, there will inevitably be drama as the story unfolds, but we know Gosling and Stone’s chemistry will be off the charts incredible (as we’ve seen in 2011’s Crazy, Stupid, Love).
This movie piques my interest because it is supposedly a reflection of Chazelle’s perspective of Hollywood, a town he notes “…where things don’t always work out.” Contrast that realistic worldview with the theatricality of song and dance, and we have a film that’s curiously fresh, especially in this time where the word “musical” is hardly present in the Cineplex. I look forward to Chazelle’s newest film.
La La Land will be released in select theaters on December 9.
Find a select theater near you here.
MARK BAUTISTA | KXSU Arts Reporter