With the Golden Globes coming up this Sunday, January 8th, I have been racing to see all the nominated movies. Yesterday I went with a friend to "La La Land," which stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling.
The film is written and directed by Damien Chazelle, who also wrote and directed "Whiplash," starring Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons (Simmons also has a small part in this film). Chazelle clearly has a passion for bringing music and theatrics to the big screen.
Emma Stone plays Mia, a young woman trying to make it in Los Angeles. During the day she works at the coffee shop on the Warner Brothers lot and every afternoon she hurries off to auditions. As she zips around town she keeps bumping into Sebastian, a piano player and jazz music fanatic. He is played by Ryan Gosling, the most adored man in America.
My parents are huge jazz music fans. They travel the world, going from festival to festival in search of the most dynamic performers. In many scenes Sebastian tries to convince Mia of the merit of this type of music (a position I can relate to!).
The movie follows Mia and Sebastian as they pursue their dreams and of course, fall in love. Their story is told through a mix of speaking dialogue, song and dance. While neither Emma Stone nor Ryan Gosling are particularly great singers, the movie is so charming that it doesn't matter.
I saw Stone and Gosling in separate appearances on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" in December while they were promoting the film and they both explained that they did all the singing and dancing (and in Gosling's case, the piano playing) themselves. There were no body doubles. I was incredibly impressed!
The choreographer for the movie was Mandy Moore, who you may know from "So You Think You Can Dance."
Because they have done three films together, Stone and Gosling have a natural, believable chemistry. They are so comfortable together and that honesty definitely draws you in further. Their love feels real, as does the tension that arises in the final act.
In addition to the stellar lead couple, the costumes leave quite the impression. In the very first dance number, Emma Stone is wearing a gorgeous, royal blue halter dress and right when I came home I tried to find it. You can purchase a Jason Wu dress that is nearly an exact match. Hello Giggles also put together a complete guide to dressing like Mia.
If you are interested in learning more about the fashions of "La La Land," check out this in-depth interview with the film's costume designer, Mary Zophres, on CNN. The reporter calls Zophres the "choreographer of color."
Overall, "La La Land" is whimsical, romantic and fun. You will feel completely transported. I found myself smiling and laughing for most of the two hours (128 minutes, to be exact), which was a welcomed change from the sadness of "Manchester By The Sea" and "Collateral Beauty."
After seeing all the vibrant costumes in the movie, I can't wait to see what Emma Stone wears on the red carpet this season!