Damien Chazelle is the next Bob Fosse. His latest film, LA LA LAND, is cinematic perfection, and he and his film are on pace to win the Oscar for director and picture, among many others. Chazelle has already won the Golden Globe, and just won the Director’s Guild of America’s achievement for the best direction this year.
The film is not only a throwback to the musicals of the golden age of Hollywood, but also Alfred Hitchcock’s VERTIGO, and of course the French New Wave. The film is warm, tender, funny, romantic, and bittersweet. Both Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone give two beautiful showboats of a symbiotic performance. They constantly make each other better, scene by scene, and their chemistry is so undeniable that they rank up among some of the greatest screen partners of all time: Nicholson/Dern, Belushi/Aykroyd, Tracy/Hepburn, and De Niro/Keitel.
Chazelle absolutely knows what he’s doing. Every single frame had been mapped out prior to filming, neither Gosling nor Stone’s singing is pushed past what they can do, in turn making the musical numbers revolving around their singing absolutely natural and organic. The aesthetic is vivid and astonishing, Chazelle makes brilliant use of color, accentuating the frame with costumes, sets, and hair and makeup. He executes any and every aspect of the film in such a flawless way, showcasing his eye for absolute detail.
Inside of the film lays an incredible love story, not only between Gosling and Stone, but for music, passion, and the arts. The film features the best special effect all year, (yes – better than the CGI recreation of Peter Cushing in ROGUE ONE) where Gosling and Stone dance amongst the stars. For as much of a token of nostalgia the film can bring, it is also steeped richly within its own originality particularly with original music composed by Chazelle’s musical partner, Justin Hurwitz.
LA LA LAND is magical. It represents the best that Hollywood has to offer. There is nothing subversive, nothing is cloaked in the shadows of the film. Mark Wahlberg isn’t unrealistically saving the day for the hundredth time in as many days, there’s no political statement to be made – this is a film made by a lover of cinema for lovers of cinema.