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La La Land Review By: Sean Harrison

What more is there to say about Damien Chazelle’s latest masterpiece? Currently nominated for a record-tying 14 Academy Awards, this movie has already won numerous accolades (including a record-setting 7 Golden Globes). In addition, the movie stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as the two leads, with John Legend in a supporting role. Overall, this movie is meant as a tribute to old musicals—especially those that starred the pairing of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

Anyway, the movie begins on a crowded highway. Mia (Stone), an aspiring actress, has a moment of road rage with Sebastian (Gosling), a struggling Jazz pianist. Admittedly this doesn’t seem to be an ideal first encounter with a love interest, but—throughout the movie—they run into each other repeatedly until they start to become friends and eventually fall for one another. Meanwhile they each pursue their dreams, neither one of them having much luck at first. This all changes when they run into an old friend/bandmate of Sebastian played by John Legend. This friend gives Sebastian a chance to play music that he doesn’t seem to enjoy. At the same time, he also persuades Mia to write her own one-woman play. They both end up being quite unsuccessful with these endeavors (albeit in different ways). This ultimately takes its toll on their relationship and leads to a somewhat bittersweet ending.

Though this bittersweet ending couldn’t deny me my enjoyment. Basically, it’s the best new musical I’ve seen in a long time—pretty much the best one I can remember in my lifetime. The music, in particular, is phenomenal. Every song is really good, especially the two that have been nominated for Oscars. Not to mention, the movie is hilarious (with some gags being perfect fits for a Buster Keaton or Stephen Chow movie). Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone have played lovers on two separate occasions, so they’ve worked up a great chemistry which is on full display here. Aside from this, Linus Sandgren gives some of the best cinematography I’ve ever seen in a musical and actually makes this film feel a lot older than it actually is at times (but in a good way). Overall, I couldn’t find anything I didn’t like about this movie. I recommend it for anyone that likes musicals or just wants a good laugh. However, you’ll probably enjoy the movie anyway.

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