La La Land, the modern day musical film from director Damien Chazelle that stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, does this rather incredulous thing–it actually lives up to its trailer. For all its hype, leading the Critics Choice Awards, winning TIFF’s People’s Choice Award, rave reviews, you still don’t expect to float out of the theatre on a cloud after seeing the film, and yet you do.
La La Land is set in modern day Los Angeles and tells the story of Mia (Stone), a struggling actress who works in a coffee shop on the Warner Brothers lot, and Sebastian (Gosling), a pianist determined to keep jazz out of the clutches of commercialism, who dreams of opening up his own club one day to keep the music alive. Sparks don’t exactly fly the first few times Mia and Sebastian meet, but as fate would have it, they tend to run in the same circles and hesitant sparks begin to crackle between the two. The romance that develops is a whirlwind of jazz and gauzy dresses and moonlit strolls, but beneath all that lays a very true, almost unbearably lovely connection between two dreamers who see one another quite clearly. (more…)