Jaime Rebanal’s review published on Letterboxd:
Short notes that came into my head upon rewatch. I still enjoy it, but unfortunately not as much as I did the first time.
La La Land's greatest joy is its nostalgic atmosphere but the substance makes it feel more like an empty love letter than anything.
Gosling and Stone are great, but something about their romance just felt so lacking and I can't seem to put my finger on it. They seem to look as if they have chemistry but I'm not feeling it as much as I wish I did.
Some of the musical numbers are actually great ("Someone in the Crowd" being the best of the bunch), but other times the singing (especially from Gosling) is a bit subpar, with "City of Stars" being the weakest song. "Audition" is fantastic, but Emma Stone actually feels up to the part. I appreciate the devotion from the crew when it came to filming some scenes but I admire that aspect more than I do the actual song, case in point being evident for the opening number, "Another Day of Sun."
It's extremely pretty if anything still allows the experience to stand out, considering how the backgrounds seem like the film's main sense of communication. It was something that heightened Demy's films and to an extent it works here.
Damien Chazelle's screenplay is weak - wallowing inside of the joy of classic Hollywood musicals but only trying to turn it accessible for modern audiences rather than make something new out of it. This might be my biggest problem, it lies inside of an image of false subversion for it shoehorns what made the classical Hollywood era so great rather than make it a great musical in itself.
I'm not exactly sure why this is the source of extreme reactions from both fans and detractors but they're not even worth the time for my own self.
If you love it, cool. If you hate it, eh, I'm gonna give you a pass. I just don't have many strong feelings. I can at least say I enjoy it because I like the music and the backgrounds. All in all, I'd just rather watch something actually of the period or something that goes beyond the image of nostalgia.
I tried, I really did.