Play it Again Jeb – ★★★★
Damien Chazelle sky rocketed onto most people’s radar in 2014 with his knock out hit Whiplash focusing on the trials and tribulations of a wannabe jazz drummer. Now he’s back but this time it’s a jazz pianist who’s struggling. He’s left behind the tension and drama of Whiplish for a light and breezy song and dance piece with love at its heart.
Mia (Emma Stone) works in a coffee shop on the Warner Brothers studio lot and manages to fit in auditions trying to follow her dream of becoming a famous actress. Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) is a jazz purist, which has ended up costing him more than one gig. We follow the star-crossed lovers into a magical world of fantasy and delight as they gradually entwine their fates together. When the pair finally meet it’s a whirlwind of emotions as both get swept up in each other dreams and aspirations. As with most things life finally catches up and the pair must decide to either stick with their dreams or their relationship.
The most exciting part of any realtionship is the beginning, it’s fresh and new with endless possibilities. Chazelle captures this expertly which is a credit to his writing and directing giving the story enough room to breath. The film hinges on the chemistry between Stone and Gosling and they have it in spades. It’s the third film they’ve worked on together and it shows. Both are so comfortable in each others presence thereby making our job all the more easier. Gosling confirms his title as master of the wry knowing smile which could light up a factory.
The film is awash with primary colours and the set-pieces to boot with Stone and Gosling making the most of their singing capabilities. If The Artist borrowed largely from Singing In The Rain, La La Land certainly takes more than a cue or two from Casablanca. Taking a cursory glance at Chazelle’s IMDB page you can see his first film back in 2010 called Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench has some similarities to La La Land. It seems much more like a Clerks version of La La Land with the director now able to give it the razzmatazz he originally envisaged. Here’s looking at you kid.
Opens across Ireland on Thursday the 12th of January