Whiplash director Damien Chazelle is singing and dancing with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.
When you fall in love with someone it leaves you breathless, exhilarated, and longing. There is the undeniable chemistry you feel with that person. It’s electric. You can feel it. You look towards art to capture and imitate what you feel. Chemistry between actors can make or break what it is you are watching. Two of the actors that have mastered that distinctive spark between people in love are Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. They first appeared together in Crazy, Stupid, Love and were remarkably charismatic and charming. Then they were paired together in Gangster Squad. While the film was a dud, their chemistry was the bright spot that makes the film. Now, they are back playing lovers for a third time in La La Land, Damien Chazelle’s hotly anticipated second feature.
La La Land follows an aspiring actress (Stone) and a jazz pianist (Gosling) in love while struggling with the pressures of Hollywood stardom. The trailer has a bluesy vibe as Gosling croons an original song entitled “City of Stars,” now available to buy on iTunes. The film’s first trailer premiered today and left viewers swooning. It has a feel of the tragic and musical love affair of 2001’s Moulin Rouge! with the actors dancing through the stars. A tone reminiscent of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind with a couple who is so desperate to make their relationship work.
Damien Chazelle erupted onto the film scene in 2014 with his first feature length film Whiplash. Whiplash is the only other film, at least that I have encountered recently, that leaves you with that same edge of your seat excitement as Mad Max: Fury Road did. Every moment is charged with crackling energy that jumps off the screen and makes you grip your armrest. The film, which is based on a short film by Chazelle, first wowed at Sundance winning the top audience and grand jury awards. It did very well on the awards circuit and garnered five Oscar nominations, with three wins.
The film is set to open the Venice Film Festival in August and has a prime awards season release date in December. It co-stars Whiplash supporting actor Oscar winner J.K. Simmons, Rosemarie DeWitt, Finn Wittrock, and John Legend. Awards prognosticators have been eagerly awaiting this film’s arrival and predict it to make a huge splash this Oscar season. I, for one, cannot wait to see how La La Land turns out.