Dennie van der Tuuk’s review published on Letterboxd:
"Here's to the fools who dream"
La La Land. The movie I was most looking forward to this year. The movie where my expectations were so high it could only disappoint. Luckily, that hasn't happened. It's everything what I expected, and more. After Whiplash, Damian Chazelle delivers another intense experience. This time everything in the style of old musicals. The modern mixed with the classic style works really well. La La Land has an amazing feel. The colors burst of the screen, the characters are fun to follow, the music and songs are delightful and the dancing is fantastic. L.A. is fantastic as a location for "Dreamers" who want to make it in show business. But they also show the less glossy side to it here. Although the movie is over two hours long, it doesn't feel like that. I didn't want it to end. I wanted more! The romantic aspect works so good. And that's all thanks to the natural chemistry Gosling and Stone have. A high point of the movie is the scene that's showing on the poster. What a fantastic scene. Besides the feel good aspect, the movie really gets to you at times with an emotional moment.
As said, the chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone is great. They make for some onscreen fireworks. But also individually, they are really good. But you can't wait to see them together again. You can't get enough of them. Simmons shows us a good performance too. An actor I start to appreciate more and more. I didn't really expect it, but John Legend is pretty good here.
Chazelle does everything to get you in the right mood as a viewer. At that he really succeeded. The feel of the old musicals like Singing' in the Rain mixed with the modern style of shooting a movie in 2016. Although there's no singing going on, the planetarium scene is a good example of that. The cinematography is absolutely stunning. Really beautiful shots are passing by. The lighting is gorgeous. The production design is great. everything is done to take you to La La Land.
In a musical the music, the songs and the dancing are very important of course. The movie doesn't disappoint in that. The most beautiful song for me is Audition (The Fools Who Dream). In this, Stone really shows what she can do as an actress. A very powerful performance. Sung in a beautiful, heartfelt way. We know the song from the trailer, but to see it now in all its glory makes the song so much better. But also Gosling has some those musical skills. That man can do everything. One of my favorite actors of the moment. The dance choreography is really good. The music of Justin Hurwitz is the driving force of the sing/dance scenes. A beautiful "jazzy" score. Fits perfectly to the movie and adds so much to the atmosphere of La La Land.
La La Land had to be the film of the year for me. It was impossible that it was a let down. And it really isn't. This is an amazing work of art. It's so good. It's such a pleasant experience. One I'm going to have a lot of fun with watching it again and again in the future. I can't wait to see it again.