“La La Land” has been gaining buzz ever since the first tiny bits of news began trickling out about the movie. Not only does it star two adorable, much-loved actors — Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling — but it’s a jazzy musical written and directed by Damien Chazelle, the Oscar-nominated filmmaker behind “Whiplash.”
Anticipation only grew with the release of a couple of teaser trailers. In the first one, Gosling sang the melancholy “City of Stars” while images flashed across the screen, from the mundane (Stone looking forlorn in a stained white shirt) to the magical (the pair dancing together while floating around a dark planetarium full of stars).
In the second one, Stone got her own solo.
Now that the movie premiered at the Venice Film Festival on Wednesday, the reviews are starting to come in, and they’re promising, comparing “La La Land” to “Singin’ in the Rain,” Woody Allen’s “Everyone Says I Love You” and Jacques Demy’s “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.”
Stone plays Mia, a wide-eyed, aspiring actress, while Gosling is Sebastian, a curmudgeonly jazz pianist. The two meet after he honks at her during a traffic jam and she flips him off, but they end up falling in love. Of course, we know from experience that the two have chemistry. This is their third movie together after “Crazy Stupid Love” and “Gangster Squad.”
Both the Telegraph and the Guardian awarded the movie a perfect five stars, the latter calling it “a sun-drenched musical masterpiece.” Meanwhile, Variety’s Kristopher Tapley writes that “as another Oscar season begins, this time under a dark cloud of controversy, movies like this take their natural place: Escapist wonderment that reminds audiences why they bother staring at flickering images on a wall in the first place.”
Deadline called the movie “a gorgeous romantic fever dream of a musical that should hit contemporary audiences right in their sweet spot,” and according to The Wrap, the “ambitious new musical turns a very recognizable Los Angeles into a singing, dancing land of dreams.” The Hollywood Reporter was a bit more measured, wishing the movie had shaved about 10 minutes off its run time.
“La La Land” moves on to the Toronto Film Festival next before its wide release Dec. 16.