Director: Damien Chazelle
Writers: Damien Chazelle
Actors: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling
COMMENTS: What a charming, old-fashioned movie this is. It’s neither dependent on CGI effects nor filled with dramatic twists, shocks and mind-bending flashbacks. Rather, it is simple, dreamy, predictable, but imbued with such charm and style we can’t resist it.
The charm begins with the main stars, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Let’s be clear that they are not Gene Kelly and Ginger Rogers.
They are wholly the characters they portray, Sebastian and Mia, who dance and sing only as it serves to tell their story. Their trembling, unsure voices depict their cautious exploration and the mystery of falling in love. Their dance steps remind us of the tentative moves we make in our vulnerable moments of being open to love.
There is one CGI scene where they are floating among the stars at Griffith Park Observatory, and we know they have already fallen in love and are lured magically into the realm of impossible hopes and dreams, rising above the mundane realities which weigh people down.
Of course we can see what’s coming. Life happens, and they are forced to face the material necessities of paying rent and dealing with people who don’t recognize – much less appreciate – their unique talents and skills. I was so enraptured by the lovers I was resisting with all my might the inevitable intrusion of harsh reality.
But it happens. How can it not? Life is what it is. In a wonderful scene when they meet again years after their breakup, Mia imagines life if they had stayed together. The look Sebastian gives Mia as she walks away is filled with all the love and compassion in his heart.
Writer/director Damien Chazelle deserves kudos for his courageous brilliance in taking such a predictable love story and making it magical and real.
GEN: 9; JUST: 8; HUVA: 10
TAGS: LA LA LAND, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, pianist, actress, Los Angeles, Damien Chazelle