By Mandela Wells


Some of my favorite musicals ever are “West Side Story,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “All that Jazz, and “Chicago, and now I can add “La La Land” to the list. Damien Chazelle blew up on the scene with Whiplash, which put in any films that incorporate a specific music style on notice. His flawless execution in that film made us all take notice of him and now he has outdone himself with this original musical.

The film focuses on two individuals Mia Dolan (Emma Stone) and Sebastian Wilder (Ryan Gosling). Mia is an aspiring actress who’s spent years auditioning for roles and has come up short every time. Sebastian is an aspiring jazz artist who is desperately holding on to the traditions of jazz and wants to open his own club. The two of them cross paths with each other and what starts off a little shaky ends up becoming a passionate case of true love. They experience ups and downs and as they try to navigate what path they want to take to achieve their dreams.

This was phenomenal!!! Absolutely brilliant and amazing! This is the best film to come out this year without question. the songs were incredibly well produced. I am going to have the song “City of Stars” stuck in my head for a long time. Its very difficult sometimes when making an original musical to figure when the music number needs to be placed and how to go about it but Chazelle and cinematographer Justin Hurwitz timed it and directed it on point and it turned out so damn good.

Damien Chazelle is a genius! he mixed in the script old Hollywood and the old musicals of days long past with the modern era in a sensational manner. He made the film so relatable in terms of people chasing their dreams and how their always going to be plenty of ups and downs. However, in the end, you got to choose a path and 9 times out of ten it’s the one your meant to be on even if you think about what if. Chazelle’s choice of shooting in 35 millimeter and the emotion he sought out in each scene shows a huge step up in his growing career.

Ryan Gosling delivered a stellar performance here. He delivered on all the songs he sang. He brought his usual charm and wit but added a bit more jazz like swagger and charisma to Sebastian. His piano work added on to the fact that he channeled the spirit of some of jazzes greatest individuals. Emma Stone’s performance was just as terrific. Stone’s Mia is the embodiment of any up and coming actor or actress, someone looking to make it big in the big city or the city of angels and having to face some of the hurdles in becoming a star.  Her vocal work surprised the hell out of me she can also really sing here!

Gosling and Stone really revive their killer chemistry here. They have such a natural connection on screen and since crazy stupid love they can now convey emotions and thoughts just by eye contact.  Their duets were beautiful and dancing were some of the most memorable scenes I’ve seen from any movie all year

The choreography, cinematography, along with the art direction were perfect. The colors of the town and the places were so good. lastly it was edited so well and harkened back to the days of past movies. This is a film you will want to see more than once I guarantee it. “La La Land” is a sure fire winner for best picture