It has been said before and will be said again: I love musicals. So, I saw La La Land a second time today in IMAX. Actually it was still in Cinemascope (2.35:1) and just projected on an IMAX screen. This did not diminish it’s brilliance in the least. Rest assured, I cried even more this time. At the beginning because the opening number is SO spectacular and again at the end — because.
The musical numbers vary. The first two which are essentially the first 10 minutes of the film are true, over-the-top, golden age of Hollywood-type musical numbers. La La Land may over emphasize things at the beginning because none of the musical numbers which follow are as good. The last one comes close but everything which follows the openers are more personal numbers with just the two main characters. Those first two numbers are there to lead you in and the rest for storytelling. You could probably eliminate the first two numbers and tell a cleaner story though I would kill you if you tried. All the numbers are shot traditionally, with long takes and few cuts.
La La Land tells the story of Eleanor (Emma Stone,) a struggling actress, and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling,) a struggling jazz musician. Each are dreamers in the best way and their paths magically cross and they fall in love. However real life intervenes and our lovers go through hardships with trying to achieve their dreams and with each other. But of course it’s a musical, how do you think it will end?
Don’t bet on it. Writer/Director Damien Chazzelle clearly loves musicals but also knows how to tell a story. He puts our two lovers through so many trials even they question if their relationship can survive. They will always love each other but sometimes that’s not enough. Romantic that I am, I always want to see that true happy ending. And I’ll tell you what: I did get to see that happy ending in all it’s musical glory on screen. You should too.
Aside: When I saw it the first time I saw it with my friend Jacqueline and did my best to man up and not cry at the end (and failed) but without anyone this time I cried like a complete bitch. It wasn’t even funny.
Jimmy Fallon’s cold open for the Golden Globes did a pretty good homage to the movie.
SNL later did a pretty crucifying sketch on La La‘s flaws: