Chun Aik’s review published on Letterboxd:
Finally got to watching this after saving it for way too long.
The musical scenes were brilliant, especially for the long takes and the breathtaking scenery where some of the scenes were shot at.
Wasn't always impressed at Ryan Gosling but thought that he did really well as Sebastian in this; Emma Stone is stunning as always.
Overall story was pretty straightforward; two aspiring artists who had been working hard but never getting the right opportunity came across each other, got together, one managed to achieve 'success' at the cost of his initial dreams, conflict occurs, the other decided to gave up but just then the big opportunity comes by, fast forward, life has taken them on very different paths since then and while both eventually managed to reach their dreams, they ended up on two different lines heading in different directions.
Thought that it was pretty cliche the way that the conflict had to occur just when things seemed to be going well. But I guess that's life? Nothing ever goes well for too long and it's always a give-and-take. And then at the end the one thing that went not-so-predictable ended up with them being separated and not together. Oh gosh!
That dream sequence made it better it but at the same time intensified the bittersweet feeling of what-could-have been. Alternate realities are always something that are worth exploring, as each of our small decisions may lead to very different outcomes from where we are. Films are especially useful in exploring such ideas and the way it was done in La La Land totally took our expectations of an ideal and happy ending and slammed it out of the door by showing it to us at that very last moment but confirming that they did not end up together.
An extremely good film but perhaps I had too high an expectation and I'm slightly disappointed to not have been blown away by it. Instead it made me miss Whiplash and the intensity and rhythm it had; maybe I'm just not much of a musical person.
Don't think I've much else to say about the film. It's largely enjoyable, Gosling and Stone put up such charming performance and the cinematography was enchanting.
Minus 0.5 stars for them not ending up together; plus 0.5 star for the dream sequence and Emma Stone automatically adds 0.5 star for every film she's in.