VERY STYLISH AFFAIR
DAMIEN Chazelle loves jazz and his passion is infectious.
A self-appointed champion of the style with his films Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench (2009) and Whiplash (2014), he likes to remind us of these smooth tunes.
He continues to spread the good word with the delightful La La Land.
A year after aspiring actress Mia (Emma Stone) and cool cat jazz pianist Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) are involved in a minor road rage exchange of horn honking and middle finger pulling, their paths cross again.
They eventually become romantically involved after declaring in a lamp pole swinging, sunset-backdrop tap dancing number that they can’t stand each other.
But Mia’s ambitions to be a successful actor and Sebastian’s to be a steadily employed pianist in a dying genre of music demonstrate their paths may never always be parallel.
La La Land’s story is familiar; the cliches are there but the presentation is dazzling, with enthusiastic performances and dancing from the actors, and a penchant for stunning sunsets and cute romantic moments.
The fluffy first half, inspired by the ’50s classic musicals, is a pure delight, with Chazelle emulating the distinct style and capturing the longgone spirit and energy of the genre with his rose-tinted lens.
That rose tinting slowly dulls, though, with harsh realities setting in and a few tearjerking moments offering substance to a so far stylish affair.
Releasing this during Oscar season seems like a no-brainer; the Academy laps up these kinds of enthusiastic love letters to the golden age of cinema, but it is the performances by the leads and their chemistry that take this above and beyond ‘Oscar bait’.
Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone star in La La Land.