KevinWriter’s review published on Letterboxd:
This is the third time I've seen La La Land. The first time I saw it (which was at the cinema), I absolutely loved it. The second time I still liked it quite a bit, but wasn't as amazed by it anymore and since then I've never really given it another try. And now, after having watched it for a third time, I'm completely floored once again. It's quite interesting. Around the period I watched La La Land for a 2nd time my general mood/happiness was fairly high. Not to say that around the time when I saw it for the first time I felt horrible, but there was definitely a difference.
And now during my 3rd watch I'm again in that okay but not great mood. Don't worry, it's nothing bad or anything like that, but with the whole pandemic, not having seen friends and a large part of my family for months, in general not going outside as much, the uncertain future etc. (I guess pretty much everyone knows what I'm talking about), I haven't 100% been myself lately. It seems like La La Land works best (at least for me) when you're not at your happiest. It's a movie that helps you get back up and lifts your spirits. And considering the direction the story takes near the end of the movie, that's a conclusion that seems a bit remarkable to me.
I think it shows how expertly Damien Chazelle has crafted La La Land, to the point where he can deliver both a heavy emotional blow with the ending, but at the same time still leave the viewer (or me at least) with a sense of joy and happiness. Kinda like that ridiculously cheesy facebook quote "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened". In that sense it almost feels like the antithesis to Chazelle's previous movie, Whiplash, which made me happy for Andrew's underdog-like success during the movie, but left me with a feeling of sadness (for lack of a better word) afterwards. And in both cases Chazelle knocks it out of the park.
All in all, it basically comes down to the fact that La La Land is a beautifully written story with excellent direction. Where Whiplash is a claustrophobic and 'inwards', magnifying the stress that we percieve in life and our desire to achieve something, La La Land feels free and 'outwards'; a polished and outlandish fantasy story that will never become reality, but at least for 2 hours we can believe it's real.