La La Land, a movie review

A movie review by: Lee Sonogan

(2016) 2h7min/ Comedy, drama, musical


La La Land equalled the record for most Oscar nominations, with 14, tying the record previously set by All About Eve and Titanic. At the 89th Academy Awards, the movie got Oscars for the Best Director and Best actress. Since that was yesterday, I am checking out the movie today. This musical drama is about a jazz pianist that falls for an aspiring actor. Win a budget of thirty million, the movie made over 360 million at the box office.

The movie stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. The screenplay of the film was written in the year 2010. Then the film was shot in eight weeks over the course of Summer 2015. The film’s score was recorded in the same studio where Singin’ in the Rain, The Wizard of Oz, and many other MGM musicals were scored.

The director wanted to shoot the scene in the tradition of old musicals without cuts or editing, Ryan Gosling practised playing the piano and played it himself in one take on his first day of shooting. Co-star John Legend, who is a classically trained pianist, says he is “jealous” of how quickly Gosling learned to play so well.

According to composer Justin Hurwitz, all the piano performance featured in the film was first recorded by pianist Randy Kerber during pre-production. Ryan Gosling then spent two hours a day, six days a week in piano lessons learning the music by heart. By the time filming had begun, Gosling was able to play all the piano sequences seen in the film without the use of a hand double or CGI.

The origins of the title are because of two reasons. Firstly the city the film is set in is Los Angeles, or in short form: LA. Hence the city is evident in the title ‘La La Land’ Secondly the film challenges the stereotypical view of Hollywood by labelling it a dream. This is also seen through the abstract cinematography.

Musicals are mostly not my thing tho, this movie was better than expected. The director has created many well-filmed scenes in it. The shots, imagery, jazz music, acting and more. Also, the backstage acting is shown in the story well. One bad thing about it is that I still do not know if they were lip singing or not. You are the justification of that. The movie makes you want to learn music haha. Ryan Gosling also does a good job with Emma Stone. They have good on-screen chemistry in the more dramatic scenes. The ending concludes with the two main characters pushing each other to positive success and then a sad ending to the film. I recommend this movie to fans of Jazz, dancing, the actors, the concept and the Oscar-winning movie. Also creative musical films.


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