CompleteMadnessJW’s review published on Letterboxd:
I feel as though a big reason for why 2016 was such a bad year for most people on this planet was because there was a lack of anything genuine. Through it all, many of the things that were said or done by the media, politicians, Hollywood and the population in general were thought up without any bona fide thought or emotion. That is not to say that the entire year was full of shitty events and people, but #fuck2016 has been trending for a reason.
Although I cannot say that the year was horrible for myself, all of the news that I've heard from around the world left me with a sort-of emptiness inside. As if there was so little hope for the years to come, it was practically pointless to move forward. I can imagine that many of you have felt the same way.
I've decided to say this because as I walked out of the theatre last night, I felt as if I'd been turned into a new person. It felt like all the cynicism and pessimism that built up inside me throughout the year has been drained from my mind and body.
La La Land is one of the most genuine movies I have ever seen in my entire life. Everything that was shown on the screen, that played through the audio was filled with so much care and thought by the amazing people who put their hearts and souls into every single second of the 128-minute runtime. It is something so special, something so incredible, that we probably don't deserve it.
Damien Chazelle will win Best Director at the Academy Awards, there is absolutely no way around it. His direction is filled with pure energy. There is not a moment in this film where the pacing feels off, or a scene goes on for too long because something is always going on, whether it is interesting, relevant to the story or downright breathtaking.
The performances are so good that the actors and actresses disappear from the screen and are enveloped into the characters they play. Ryan Gosling is officially one of the best actors of this generation, as if that wasn't already made clear with the past decade of his filmography. Emma Stone is ravishing as always, and gives the best performance of her entire career thus far, and yes, that makes it better than her role in Birdman.
The musical numbers are what could have broken this film, as neither Gosling nor Stone are professional singers, but through a proper usage of their vocal range and wonderful instrumentals and lyrics, the music presented here is nothing short of wonderful.
Not to be discredited, however, is Justin Hurwitz who delivers an unbelievably good score which mixes aspects of Broadway, jazz and classical
And without going into spoiler territory, this film contains my favorite ending since... well... Chazelle's last movie, Whiplash.
Seriously guys, if any of you miss the chance to see this in theatres, I will be saddened. It's "the swan song of 2016" (from the person whom I watched this with) and it deserves to be loved more than any other movie I have seen this year.