I'm not one to smile much during a dramatic film, but I found myself smiling throughout every scene in La La Land. It is majestic, magical, and beautifully shot. There are long takes that must have taken a long time to coordinate in the perfect manner that is produced. At times, the characters float around on the screen. The glitz and glamor of an older Hollywood is constantly popping up in every scene. Yet, we also get a glimpse of the problems that have haunted Hollywood since its conception. As smooth jazz melodies play, the typical viewer should fall into a trance of pure musical joy.
In order to create a strong musical, there are three key features necessary. First, you need a good story. The story for La La Land is somewhat ambiguous, causing some confusion along the way. Still, the simplicity of a love story ties the frays as the story becomes deeper than a simple meeting between star-crossed lovers. To create a strong musical, you clearly need good music that is relevant to the storyline. From the get-go, La La Land introduces us to classy jazz numbers which often lead up to strong vocal performances. Finally, you need to have a cast that can perform well on a stage and sing the various musical numbers. This is probably my favorite role that Emma Stone (Birdman, The Amazing Spider-Man) has ever been in, and quite possibly my favorite role for Ryan Gosling (Drive, The Big Short). Both of them sing their hearts out and create deep characters with their strong performances.
The Bottom Line: La La Land captures our hearts as we cannot help but smile at the magic that comes from combining Hollywood's cinema and Broadway's musicality.
By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America - Emma StoneUploaded by maybeMaybeMaybe, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22894460
By Elen Nivrae from Paris, France - Ryan Gosling, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41215867