Having seen hundreds of films in which actors routinely break into song for no reason, the musical is a genre something I could slip right into, only that in La La Land there is always some reason for the music.
La La Land operates in multiple dualities, the real city and the virtual city, the earth and the stars, the famous and those without a face, the past and the present, and more importantly how dreams push reality and how ruthlessly dreams are pushed back by this reality.
Yes and all this is told through the lives of two.
Mia and Seb.
The film keeps religiously hinting at the co-existence of real and dream states, where even a phone ringtone brings you back to drab daily life and the sight of an old movie theatre could push the leads into the clouds.
Not falling into the trap of grandness, Damien Chazelle shows meditative concentration on his leads, shot in the ultimate film maker’s wet dream of a format: cinemascope, when the screen is filled with Emma Stone’s crystal green eyes or Ryan Gosling’s timely nod, even the best of nature’s landscape would concede defeat.
I wouldn’t want to limit La La Land as a love story of two struggling artists in a big city, but it does brilliantly work solely as a love story, beyond the romance, has there been any film that uses the yearning for the past and aspirations to come and yet stay contemporary? Questions are a plenty and these gently push the film along, without being conscious and feeling self important about handing these questions.
La La Land is a film that flushes out all emotions, moments to cry into crumpled hankies are interrupted with moments to beam with happiness at what La La Land throws at us, but not for a moment it looks constructed or organised.
La la land doesn’t want to be brilliant, but it cannot help itself from being so.
Great films aren’t necessarily great because they utilize the finest of techniques or technicians, it is great because of their ability to bring out emotions that other great films too invariably bring out, something like a Casablanca, something like a Sagara Sangamam.
Maybe it is a mixture of all that.
A complete film which takes all from Old Hollywood but yet comes out as its own, the flourishes of which will be enjoyed for years.
To all those quick to use the phrase “they dont make them like that any more”,
they just did.
PS : It is only providence that I got to see a film divided into parts namely winter, spring, summer , fall and winter again in a theatre called seasons.