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La La Land (2016)

by British Film Critic

When someone asks me what I think about La La Land or why I love it so much, my answer is always the same, and just one word. Beautiful. Everything about this film is unapologetically, unrelentingly beautiful. The themes, the cinematography, the colour palette, the score, the performances, the message, the ode to cinema and to music and to dreamers and to passion – no other word can do it justice. And after just two viewings, this may have become one of my favourite films of all time.

One of the core themes of this film is the choice between the passion for each other and passion for your craft, and the realisation that you cannot absolutely pursue your craft whilst simultaneously absolutely pursuing your relationship. Because ultimately, passion is not plural. And I absolutely love this theme, how it’s explored, and the way it is dealt with. It is such a clever, thoughtful concept to deal with in a film centred around romance, because in the majority of romantic comedies, one member of the relationship will give up on, or abandon their passion to be with their significant other, and very little time is spent exploring this, making it so refreshing to have it explored to great lengths here.

Lastly, I need to take some time to appreciate all of the technical aspects more specifically. This film is an absolute visual feast: frames feel like paintings, the colour palettes are so therapeutic and aesthetically arresting, the shot composition is so intricate and detailed, and the shooting locations are stunning. Words cannot express how incredible and emotional the score is to me: each piece tells a story and develops the lush atmosphere it can be found in.

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are absolutely sensational – Stone arguably gives the performance of her career, Gosling continues to demonstrate his range and their chemistry with each other is so lifelike and believable, it’s unreal. Damien Chazelle has inarguably proved himself as one of the best directors of our generations, constantly conveying his versatility and passion for his craft, somehow managing to make two of the best films of the decade so far, back to back.