LA LA LAND
LA LA LAND
* * * (Joyce)
* * * ½ (Don)
“La La Land” is a good old-fashioned musical with a modern approach.
Opening with a “Cinemascope” style dance routine set on a Los Angeles freeway and closing with a double view of where our dreams may take us, the movie is a unique approach to filmmaking.
Ryan Gosling plays Sebastian, a jazz pianist with the dream of owning his own club and playing his style of music. Emma Stone is Mia, an actress looking for that big break, or even a small part, hoping to become a star. They meet, fall in love, go their separate ways, come back together, and then...we’ll let you decide the ending.
There are a few fabulous production numbers, but the movie spends most of its two hours on the relationship between the two lovers, both with different and sometimes conflicting goals. It is pretty to watch and pleasant to listen to, especially if you love both the old style movie musical numbers and jazz in any form. An appearance by John Legend adds to the enjoyment.
There’s a dream-like number at the Griffith Observatory and a clever duet on a mountaintop street, along with a number of back lot sets that lead to brief production numbers. But basically, “La La Land” is a tip of the hat to Hollywood and a boy meets girl story. It is divided into four seasons of their lives, as they experience failure and success, leading to the questions of what fame is and if your dreams are worth the price you may have to pay for them.
Rated PG-13, with minor profanity.