La La Land (PG-13) 128 mins B+
There will be singing and dancing.
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt, J.K. Simmons, Hemky Madera, Jason Fuchs, and Finn Wittrock.
I'll tell you up front, musicals are not my favorite. But, I went into La La Land with an open mind and a certain amount of expectations. Directed by Damien Chazelle (Whiplash), the film has already garnered the most Golden Globe nominations (seven) for next month's award ceremony. Not to mention, it's a critical darling and likely Oscar favorite. The film opens with plenty of beautiful people singing and dancing on the Los Angeles freeway (so much for easing into it). Immediately, I worried that the entire film would be a bright and shiny homage to old school cinema ala Singin' in the Rain. But, once I settled into the magic that is Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, the film was enchanting despite the sudden outbursts of song and dance.
The story is familiar - two talented wannabes trying to make it in Hollywood. Mia (Stone), an aspiring actress and Sebastian (Gosling), a jazz musician trying to resurrect jazz. It's easy to see the romance brewing between Mia and Sebastian early in the film. But, without giving too much away, the film won me over because just like real life things got hard, things got complicated, and the film didn't necessarily take the easy way out.
Recommend to those who like romantic musicals and/or Hollywood nostalgia 2016 style.
The trailer (courtesy of YouTube/Lionsgate)