‘La La Land’ – Does it live up to the hype? [Review]

The Academy Award and Golden Globe winning ‘La La Land’ has generated quite a buzz since its initial theatrical release – does it live up to the hype?

On April 25, La La Land became available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD from Summit Entertainment, a Lionsgate company. The Academy Award and Golden Globe winning fill has generated quite a buzz since its initial theatrical release last December. Starring Ryan Gosling (Sebastian) and Emma Stone (Mia), this production incorporates modern themes with flair reminiscent of the golden age of Hollywood musicals. With gushing press about the singing, dancing and large production numbers, those who have yet to see it may wonder if it lives up to the hype.

Overall, La La Land was a successfully executed film. This production captures the essence of old school Hollywood movies, without presenting as overly contrived. Much of the realism grounding this, otherwise whimsical, film was generated by Gosling and Stone. These artists brought a palpable chemistry to the screen, while not shying away from the less than perfect parts of life and love in LA. Their dynamic portrayals of Sebastian and Mia kept viewers engaged throughout.

Any time actors are cast in rolls requiring other technical skills, there are questions about how authentic it will feel. Both Gosling and Stone were cast as triple threats in this production, pushing them to flex a wide array of artistic muscles. Surprisingly, Gosling’s piano playing was believable – at least to a layperson – given that he has little experience prior to preparing for this role. Dancers in the audience will note some awkwardness from both leads at times – though this did not detract greatly from the overall viewing experience. Choreography throughout the film was solid, though not jaw-dropping. Additionally, some of the large production numbers felt like missed opportunities for greatness.

La La Land’s arch was captivating and moved at a successful pace. Audiences will find themselves smiling and frowning along with the story line. There were only two moments that viewers may find disconcerting. One is a particularly surreal moment, dropped in the middle of a scene. It finds Sebastian and Mia floating through the cosmos in a manner discordant with the rest of the film. The second moment involves a seemingly uncharacteristic choice the two leads make regarding their relationship. This somewhat inauthentic feeling moment arises toward the end of the movie, causing a bit of confusion.

La La Land did, for the most part, live up to it’s reputation. Though not the completely perfect production some claimed it was, this film is an entertaining and engaging watch. Viewers are likely to want to see it again.


'La La Land'
From left to right: Ryan Gosling ("Sebastian") and Emma Stone ("Mia") star in Lionsgate Home Entertainment's 'La La Land.'
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