La La Land (2016), Dir. Damien Chazelle

La La Land (2016), Dir. Damien Chazelle
This is the dream! It’s conflict and it’s compromise, and it’s very, very exciting!
— Sebastian, La La Land (2016)

Stars: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt, J.K. Simmons, Finn Wittrock, Tom Everett Scott, Jessica Rothe, Sonoya Mizuno, Callie Hernandez.
Director: Damien Chazelle
Screenplay: Damien Chazelle

There are times where I am in awe in viewing La La Land, then there are times where I am too far removed to really invest in it. The element of trying is felt in Chazelle's new film that is not in the masterpiece Whiplash. The homage to the classic Hollywood musical is a little too on the nose, but in saying all of this it is a refreshing film to watch in this blockbuster era.

Gosling is his charming self, his skills on the piano is astounding. This is what Chazelle excels at, showing the immense talent with musical instruments. I have never seen piano playing as well captured in a very long time. If this was just a Gosling film I would have been enthralled but I never quite connected with Stone's Mia. I understand what they were going for but she comes off as a little sharp against Gosling's Sebastian. The chemistry that is needed to make this an immersive viewing is a bit lost here.

I love the classic Gene Kelly musical and it is rather fun to find the references but it stops this film for making its own statement and the numbers feel a little forced. Because the plot is fantastic, I so buy into these two trying to follow their own dreams while falling in love in the process. 

I sound really negative here but for the most part I really enjoyed this film, and I will contradict myself because my favourite part is the literal homage to the classic ballet break. It flows so effortlessly unlike the other numbers. This film is solid fun and maybe I am just being too harsh.

★ ★ ★ 1/2