Tom Lee’s review published on Letterboxd:
Whilst the musical genre had never really disappeared, it is clear to see that it is undergoing a modern resurgence, at the centre of which sits La La Land as a benchmark of quality. The film is a poetic musical that seems to effortlessly layer charm atop technical achievement.
La La Land tells the story of a developing romance through imagery and music - very little is explicitly exposed to us through dialogue, allowing the film’s emotional through-line to resonate deeply and honestly.
Some audiences are put off by musicals, but La La Land’s narrative themes benefit greatly from the genre. The opening scene is a precisely choreographed musical routine that promises success and stardom to anyone hopeful enough, but quickly snaps us back to the reality that our characters are living through. Gosling and Stone portray Sebastian and Mia. The acting is superb, and their concise but charmingly amateurish dancing help sell their character.
My personal highlight of the film is a scene in which Sebastian explains to Mia the difference between the mass appeal jazz music she is familiar with, and the traditionalist, more expressive jazz that he loves. Previously, my understanding of the genre was mostly similar to Mia’s, but his passion for the subject certainly swayed my opinion, all the while helping the audience sympathise with and invest in his aspirations.