Surprisingly dramatic musical as it turns out.
It's safe to say i had very high expectations walking into this movie with my g/f last night. I don't think I've seen a proper musical since Hairspray (Once was actually more recent but felt well above and beyond a simple musical), so as soon as people start dancing on the LA freeway, I'm thinking to myself, "ah yes, i remember these. I need to just smile and enjoy it." and then minutes later as the back of a cube van opens up and an enthusiastic percussionist starts playing the sides of the van and an even more enthusiastic flutist starts swaying back and forth, I find myself with a huge smile on my face and I just let everything go and fell into the fun escape that good musicals deliver.
In the end, it got fairly surprisingly dramatic (it's no Manchester by the Sea or anything) with relationships and supporting or not supporting your partner's dreams. One of these scenes in particular goes on for a quite a while for a musical. I actually don't think this is a love story, as I never really got the feeling the main characters were in love, it felt more like infatuation to me. I think Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling had more love chemistry in Crazy, Stupid Love than they do in this.
In terms of performances, Emma Stone will likely win Best Actress but I, personally, was more impressed with fellow Canadian Ryan Gosling as he really seems to be literally stepping out of his comfort zone, which i highly respect. I thought his dance numbers were quite impressive and he was very believable as a struggling jazz pianist. I loved the little quirks he brought to his character as well (I have a feeling that making Sebastian jumpy was his idea).
I haven't seen a movie so perfectly suited for Oscar since The Artist. I would already bet heavily that it will win Best Picture and, more appropriately, Best Director. However, this is a year I think that Oscar will get it wrong as I don't believe La La Land is the best movie of the year. It's probably third best, which is of course still excellent.
I would highly recommend it just the same but remember that musicals aren't for everyone.
Heart rating: 4.5 stars (I was very close to giving it 5 from smiling too much, and squeezing my g/f's hand too much)
Brain rating: 4.5 stars (I had problems with Emma Stone's character being too egocentric)