Does any movie enter Oscar season with more expectations than Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land”? The romance musical became an instant Best Picture frontrunner the second it opened the Venice Film Festival back in August, and it completed an acclaimed festival hat-trick with rousing screenings at both Telluride and TIFF. With an AFI FEST Gala presentation set for this month, Summit Entertainment is going all in on awards season, and the through-the-roof acclaim is certainly helping things.
Emma Stone plays Mia, an aspiring actress working on a motion picture studio lot as a waitress just to get by. She meets Ryan Gosling’s jazz pianist Sebastian during an exhilarating opening scene traffic jam, and the pair begin a magical romance that has inevitable heartbreak given the push and pull of their respective artistic dreams. John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt and Finn Wittrock co-star.
While the chance to see two of Hollywood’s best stars in an old fashioned musical is already proving irresistible (and Oscar pundits are already eying them for nominations, especially Stone’s career-best work), it’s really the virtuoso Damien Chazelle that’s going to make this thing sing. His first feature since “Whiplash” is a huge step up in terms of ambition and budget, and if “La La Land” finds the success everyone expects it too, expect even bigger things to come for this talented rising filmmaker.
“La La Land” opens in select theaters December 2, before a nationwide release on December 9. Watch the official trailer below.