This fanciful, theatrical musical has been dominating the award ceremonies; but is it worth making a song and dance about?

Set in modern day Hollywood, this film uses the typical 50s musical format and the costumes are subtly classic, to echo this by-gone era. Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress working in a coffee shop and attending unsuccessful auditions, is thrown by fate into a love story with Seb (Ryan Gosling), a pianist with a passion for jazz. There are 3 love affairs battling each other throughout the film; Mia’s love for acting, Seb’s love for jazz, and their love for each other.

The film opens on a very cheesy over the top musical number, which is excellently executed but a bit unnecessary and it doesn’t fit in with the tone of the movie as a whole. In Moulin Rouge style surrealism, there are a couple of spontaneous moments where the protagonists can magically float among the stars during a musical number, which is metaphorically beautiful but isn’t to everyone’s taste.

Emma Stone seems to play the same character in every film, a quick witted, sharp tongued girl who is slightly isolated from her stereotypical peers. This film is no different but she really kicks it up a notch in a particularly exposing solo performance; she reels you in and leaves you filled to the brim with emotion. Ryan Gosling essentially plays the same character as in The Notebook; a cheeky strong willed man who thrives in a tear-jerker film. Although predictable, they both play to their strengths magnificently.

The cinematography is beautiful, every shot is like a piece of art. The camera glides the audience through the centre of the dance numbers, fully immersing them in the action and emotion.

It is heartbreakingly romantic, absolutely mesmerising and profound. If your heart is made of stone, Emma and Ryan will make it weep.

★★★★

 

First published in Marketplace Magazine, Bourne.

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