La La Land

By Jackie Raphael

The musical is nostalgic, quirky, romantic and surprisingly dramatic. It tells the story of Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) a jazz pianist and Mia (Emma Stone) an aspiring actress, who are both trying to fulfil their career dreams. The pair fall in love and are forced to choose between their work and relationship. While this plot is nothing new, the way in which Whiplash director Damien Chazelle tells the story is quite unique. The cinematography is beautiful and the music plays a pivotal role in setting the tone of the film. As always, Gosling and Stone have wonderful chemistry and show off their amazing skills in acting, singing and dancing. My main critique is that the film is a bit too long and has some unnecessary moments. I highly recommend you watch Rebel Without a Cause and Casablanca before seeing this film to fully appreciate the way in which La La Land pays homage to these classics. The film strikes a wonderful balance between the past and present. I left the cinema wanting to dance on the streets.