Author: Harrison Wade

La La Land Review: The best and the worst of your first love

One of the final movies of 2016 comes as a push against everything that happened before its release. Damien Chazelle’s La La Land believes in dreamers, in romanticism, and love. It’s a reaction against the cynicism of contemporary blockbusters; a callback to a bygone era of Hollywood. It aligns itself with movies that defined moments of film history, and hopes to be remembered as such. In part, I’d argue it succeeds at capturing an image of our generation, while also showing off the negative consequences of having such grand ambitions. The story is classic Hollywood; two young artists in L.A. struggle to attain their dreams without selling out, and find love along the way. La La Land relies on the star power of its two leads; Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. The two are at their best, playing Jazz piano as Sebastian and acting as Mia, respectively. Gosling abandoned his usual charm for a more selfish, and realistic character, much like Miles Teller did in Chazelle’s previous film Whiplash. Stone succeeds at making Mia feel alive beyond the confines of the script. Their passion is what drives the movie forward to its brilliant, extraordinary climax. But Gosling and Stone trip up along the way, most notably during the musical numbers. The music itself is superb; it has been stuck in my head since I saw it. But, although both actors are...

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