La La Land
Damian Chazelle earned a Best Director Oscar and proved that the all-singing, all-dancing musical ain’t dead with his sprightly third feature.
Emma Stone picked up the Best Actress Academy Award, while co-star Ryan Gosling just missed out, as they play two lovers making their way in Tinseltown, living the highs and lows of a Hollywood existence. Stone is Mia, an aspiring actor on the up’n’up. Gosling is Sebastian, the pianist at an upmarket restaurant who dreams of a career playing the ivories as a serious jazz musician. Their first encounter finds them fighting, only to meet again and fall in love. But with each under pressure to achieve success, can their love stay the course? With it’s dazzling single-take opening – a song and dance number on an LA freeway – through to that magical moment in the Griffith Observatory, Chazelle invests his film with enough magic and grit to shift between the fantasy and reality of Hollywood life. And his stars, though no Fred and Ginger, exude more than enough charisma, with plenty to spare.
★★★★★ “Audacious, retro, funny and heartfelt” - Ian Freer, Empire
★★★★★ “Behind the film’s nimble comedy and exuberant musical set-pieces beats a complex, crisply written romance” - Robbie Collin, The Telegraph
★★★★★ “A primary-coloured homage to classic movie musicals” - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian