Adrian’s review published on Letterboxd:
'Here's to the ones who dream. Foolish, as they may seem.'
When I found myself sitting in the bus on my way home from the theater, whistling and singing 'City of Stars' like a complete weirdo, I knew that I have just witnessed something really special. Not only is La La Land an ode to all the dreamers, the crazy ones and the fools, it is also a love letter to cinema itself. A love letter, that only can be created by a genuine movie lover.
This movie lover is Damien Chazelle, who has, although this is only his third movie, already surpassed himself with this. You can feel his passionate love for cinema within every single shot in here. There are countless references to the earlier days of cinema, and it is most conspicious in the hommage to Rebel Without a Cause. The scene in the observatory, where Mia and Sebastian where reaching for the stars, was one of the greatest scenes I have ever experienced, because never before have the boundaries between dream and reality merged like that.
However, not only this scene blew me away. There were endless scenes where I was absolutely blown away. Whether it was the astonishing opening scene, the dancing scene between Mia and Sebastian in Griffith Park or the first time Sebastian was singing 'City of Stars, I was smiling throughout the entire running time of this movie. Plus, it was the first time I cried in the cinema. I cried out of sheer joy, and that's something what only seldomly happens to me.
I had never thought that a song in a movie would actually make me cry. But it was the moment when Mia was singing 'The Fools Who Dream' when I decided to give up and just let it go, because the lyrics of this song were so beautiful and so sad at the same time. Actually, the whole soundtrack of La La Land was absolutely brilliant. Like the film itself, it was made out of pure passion and thus, perfectly fitting.
Not only was the soundtrack really astonishing, also the technical aspects of this movie were nothing short of outstanding. The camerawork was stunning, and it made every frame look like a painting. Also, the lighting was really excellent, giving the movie the typical musical feeling.
Nevertheless, this movie wouldn't have worked without our leading actors Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. I wouldn't call Ryan Gosling's performance the best of his career, but he was still astonishing. Only thinking, that he had learned to play the piano during daily four-hour sessions, makes me admire his performance even more. Also, the chemistry between him and Emma Stone was perfect. However, while Gosling was great, Emma Stone was giving the best performance of her career. It felt like she was putting all her emotions, all her skills and simply all her life for this movie, and I enjoyed every second of her being on the screen.
While I was sitting in the cinema, dancing around in my seat and jiggling with my feet, there was a short moment where I asked myself if this was really happening. I would never have thought that it was possible to make a movie like this in a world like ours. I have read a lot of reviews from people that said we wouldn't deserve this movie. I maintain the exact opposite: We needed, and we deserve, this movie. We needed this ode to joy, and we needed this reminder that there's still space for the fools and dreamers in this world, no matter how dark the times will be. Thank you, Damien Chazelle.