The retro movie musical La La Land, which has already won or been nominated for a sack of awards in its appearances at film festivals and enjoyed a record-breaking five-theatre limited release earlier this month, opened at cinemas across North America December 16.
The new movie musical, which is written and directed by Whiplash’s Damien Chazelle, stars Emma Stone (Cabaret), Ryan Gosling, John Legend, and J. K. Simmons (winner of the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in Whiplash). The film showcases songs co-written by Justin Hurwitz and the Tony-nominated team of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (A Christmas Story, Dogfight), whose Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen opened to mostly rave reviews less than three weeks ago.
Critics are filing their reviews of La La Land. Playbill.com will update this list as more are posted:
The film was named Movie of the Year by the AFI Awards; Best Picture by Boston Online Film Critics Association, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the New York Film Critics Circle, and the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association; and has been nominated for Best Picture in the Golden Globes.
Watch the trailer here, which features the song “Audition," with music by Hurwitz and lyrics by Pasek & Paul.
La La Land was the opening film of the 73rd Venice International Film Festival, which ran August 31-September 10.
“La La Land is a surprising tribute to the golden age of American [movie] musicals, from An American in Paris by Vincente Minnelli to New York, New York by Martin Scorsese,” Festival director Alberto Barbera said in an earlier statement. “It is a film that does not merely reinvent the musical genre, it gives it a brand new start. If Whiplash was the revelation of a new filmmaker, La La Land is his definitive, albeit precocious, consecration among the great directors of Hollywood’s new firmament.”
La La Land is described as “a modern take on the classic Hollywood romance, which is heightened by spectacular song-and-dance numbers, as two dreamers struggle to make ends meet while they pursue their passions in a city known for destroying hopes and breaking hearts. Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress, serves lattes to movie stars in between auditions, and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a dedicated jazz musician, scrapes by playing cocktail piano gigs in dingy bars, but as success mounts they are faced with decisions that begin to fray the fragile fabric of their love affair, and the dreams they worked so hard to maintain in each other threaten to rip them apart.”
La La Land is produced by Lionsgate in partnership with Black Label Media, Gilbert Films, Impostor Pictures and Marc Platt Productions. The film is distributed in the USA by Lionsgate.
(Updated December 19, 2016)