La La Land | Chicago Reader

La La Land

Rated PG-13 128 minutes 2016

When Damien Chazelle tried to resurrect the movie musical with his debut feature, Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench (2009), he was constrained by the modest means of a Canadian indie; now, having made a name for himself with the Oscar-nominated jazz drama Whiplash (2014), he returns to the challenge with $30 million behind him, and the result is dazzling. The story, a star-crossed romance between a down-and-out actress (Emma Stone) and a brooding jazzbo (Ryan Gosling), may echo Martin Scorsese's New York, New York (1977) and, earlier still, George Cukor's A Star Is Born (1954). But the musical numbers are distinctly Minnellian in their sense of lovers being swept away by the whirlwind of their mutual regard; in one particularly grand scene, shot inside the planetarium of the Griffith Observatory, the characters glide into a pas de deux and ascend into the heavens. With John Legend, J.K. Simmons, and Rosemarie DeWitt.

Film Credits

Official Site:

Director: Damien Chazelle

Producer: Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz, Marc Platt and Gary Gilbert

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt, J.K. Simmons, Finn Wittrock, Meagan Fay, Callie Hernandez, Sonoya Mizuno, Jessica Rothe, Tom Everett Scott and Josh Pence


La La Land

La La Land

La La Land

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