There’s a quote in the trailer for La La Land which caught my attention before I saw the film. The quote is “They don’t make films like this anymore”. Now that I have seen the film I realize that it’s a perfect way to describe this film. La La Land is a brilliant film. I actually don’t even like musicals. I never have. But La La Land is so much more than just that. It’s an ode to everything Cinema, Music and other art forms stand for. I prefer realism in films but La La Land brought out the romantic in me.
To me La La Land is a mirror image of Whiplash, which was Writer/Director Damien Chazelle’s previous venture. If Whiplash is the ‘blink and you miss it’ kind of film, La La Land is the kind of film which gives you ample room to breathe. It’s the kind of film which you should watch after pouring yourself a glass of wine/whiskey. Whiplash used its quick cuts to force audiences to keep up. La La Land uses long takes to invite the audience into the story. It uses dissolves as if we’re in the 1950’s. The fact that Damien Chazelle has made both, Whiplash and La La Land is a marvelous feat in itself and also shows the command he holds over cinema as a medium. However, similarities between the films can be seen since both films play on very similar themes. Art and Mediocrity.
Whiplash told us that if you’re not GREAT at what you do, quite simply, Fuck Off. La La Land is more sympathetic that way. Characters are much more colourful in La La Land. The film romanticizes Art. As we see the characters sing and dance towards their ambitions, we also feel their motivations for the same. We can sense the frustration of artists who just want to be who they are but just can’t. It’s a very universal story. Anyone who has ever gone out into the world to make their own art has faced troubles regarding mediocrity. This film doesn’t judge one for making a choice, it asks us to accept it.
La La Land treats it characters with compassion and humanizes them, while at the same time, somehow, keeps a steady ultra romantic tone alive. I don’t know if this film is better than Whiplash. I absolutely loved Whiplash. But I love this film too. And again, I usually hate musicals. La La Land is a homage to cinema, more than anything else. This film is extremely stylistic and very detailed. I am really blown away by this film and don’t know how to say anything more about it without giving anything away. Just watch it.
La La Land has conceivably used all elements of film making to its advantage. The film is a treat for cinema lovers and it would be a colossal waste to not watch this film in the theater (It’s releasing on December 16th in India). This film is a must watch.
P.S – Thanks to MAMI (Mumbai Academy of Moving Images) for making this special screening happen.