A step up in class

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Film -

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.

How­ever, Mia’s am­bi­tions to be a suc­cess­ful ac­tor and Se­bas­tian’s to be a steadily em­ployed pi­anist in a dy­ing genre of mu­sic demon­strate that their paths may never al­ways 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 1950s era of clas­sic mu­si­cals, is a pure de­light, with Chazelle em­u­lat­ing the dis­tinct style and cap­tur­ing the long-gone spirit and en­ergy of the genre.

That rose tint­ing slowly dulls, though, with harsh re­al­i­ties set­ting in and a few tear-jerk­ing mo­ments of­fer­ing sub­stance to a so far stylish af­fair.

Re­leas­ing this dur­ing Os­car sea­son is a no-brainer; the Academy laps up these 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”.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.