TNP Review: La La Land is dreamy
The La La Land triumvirate of Gosling, Stone and Chazelle are going to be permanent fixtures at the red carpets this coming awards season.
La La Land scored 12 nominations at the upcoming Critics Choice Awards, including best picture, best actress for Stone, best actor for Gosling and best director and screenplay for Chazelle.
Stone won best actress at the Venice Film Festival in September and she deserved to.
This movie is tailor-made for her. Stone is an extremely gifted performer, one whose doe eyes are vividly expressive.
Adding to her appeal is her adorable wardrobe, colourful dresses that are made to swirl elegantly each time she twirls.
Director Chazelle's decision to drop Miles Teller, his Whiplash star, for Gosling is probably the best he has ever made in his career.
Stone and Gosling have such an amazing and magical chemistry, having worked together on Crazy Stupid Love (2011) and Gangster Squad (2013).
Both light up the screen, Stone with her impassioned optimism and Gosling with his ultra-cool demeanour.
Their first number together - singing and tap-dancing at the picturesque Griffith Park in Los Angeles - will turn anyone into a romantic. It brings to mind the old school Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly musicals that I loved so much.
Another winning moment is Gosling's beautiful song City Of Stars, and when Stone joins in, the result is a heart-melting duet.
Both leads are not natural singers or dancers, but they make up for it by being so earnest and mesmerising.
I really can't imagine Teller, who was great in Whiplash, channelling the kind of suaveness that is now second nature to Gosling.
Legend's role may be small, but it is well played.
Chazelle's choice to shoot the movie using film is a wise one too. The colours pop like in those old Technicolour films.
The feel-good story is slightly bittersweet and keeps the movie grounded in reality.
With Hollywood churning out comic book superheroes and sequels, La La Land is a welcome relief, one that is truly original and celebrates music.
STARRING: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt, J.K. Simmons
DIRECTOR: Damien Chazelle
THE SKINNY: Mia (Stone) dreams of being a Hollywood actress. Sebastian (Gosling) wants to open his own jazz bar. Their paths cross, and they end up falling in love against a backdrop of dreamy musical numbers. But dreams, ideals and choices threaten to put an end to their blossoming romance.