Love it or loathe it, there's no denying that #LaLaLand is a bold film. The Damien Chazelle-directed musical was nominated for a whopping 14 Academy Awards, and almost won seven of them if it wasn’t for dastardly Moonlight snapping up the Best Picture win at the last minute.
Of course due to its #musical nature, there are many people who simply don't 'get it'. However, for the rest of us I thought it would be a nice idea to look at the 10 best scenes in La La Land as pretty much every scene in the film is memorable.
10) Mia's Audition
If there was one scene to show why #EmmaStone deserved her Oscar then this would be it. It's reminiscent of Naomi Watts in David Lynch's magnum-opus, Mulholland Drive who also happens to play a young starlet looking for fame. It's the first audition we see of Mia after hearing her practice the same script in the car earlier. The scene perfectly captures the awkwardness and intimidation of trying to act in a room full of strangers, and Emma's extraordinary performance draws us in completely. It can't be easy to be an actress playing an actress who's trying to act, but Emma Stone pulls it off flawlessly. How did they not give Mia the part?
9) Someone In The Crowd
I suppose you could argue that this song starts out like a scene from Glee, but it's so catchy it's hard to care! The music really comes into its own when Mia and the girls leave the flat and strut their stuff down the road in their colourful get-up. When we get to the party, we're hit with a sensory overload as Mia sings sorrowfully to herself in a dark mirror before exiting to a pool party full of frozen guests. It's not until a man jumps into the pool, Boogie Nights style that we're hit with dizzying camerawork and a big finish. It's an exuberant sequence which is directed with more confidence than necessary for a second feature film.
8) Play Disaster
Here's another moment which shows how brilliant Emma Stone is as an actress. It's the opening night for her one woman show, 'Goodbye Boulder City' and guess who doesn't make it to the show? Her one true love in life, Sebastian. It's a heart-breaking moment as we've watched Mia take so many blows throughout the film and this was her biggest chance at making it in Hollywood, but it all goes horribly wrong as hardly anyone shows up. Seb catches Mia outside and she understandably has a fit at him and calls their relationship off for good. It's a sad moment, but I have to say that the whole "bite your lip" moment with Seb is absolutely hilarious.
7) Come Dine With Me
There's a double meaning to the jarring title card which reads 'Fall'. Not only does it indicate the season, but also the tragic breakdown of Seb and Mia's relationship which begins with this extraordinarily acted scene. It begins sweetly with Mia returning to find Seb at their flat cooking a romantic meal for them. However, this lovely surprise descends into a painfully realistic blazing row which gets horribly personal. Not only is it brilliantly acted, it's also superbly written by Chazelle who literally sets the table for the beginning of the end of our favourite couple.
6) City Of Stars
This is the song which award ceremonies went crazy for. Winning a Golden Globe, BAFTA and Academy Award (amongst many others) City Of Stars pretty much sums up the whole of La La Land in three minutes. The scene itself is quite simple with Mia and Seb just sitting and singing at the piano along with a sweet montage of them being happy together. The song's structure is similar to that of a 50's musical and whilst the lyrics are upbeat, the music itself is quite melancholic. It's the balance between the uproariously positive 'Another Day Of Sun' at the start and emotional final 'Audition' which compliments the film's main themes of love and ambition.
5) Tap dance
Like all the best movie romances, Mia and Seb initially don't see eye to eye. Despite the steamy chemistry between them, they decide to sing a song about not caring about one another against the gorgeous backdrop of Los Angeles. However, as the song goes on it's pretty clear that they do have feelings for each other which is beautifully illustrated through a delightful tap dance routine. It's a scene which really captures the spirit of the old-school musicals of the 50's. Emma and Ryan might be no Fred and Ginger, but they do tackle the choreography with playful ease and seemingly all in one take!
4) First kiss
This almost entirely wordless sequence is arguably the most gloriously romantic part of the film. After Mia has an epiphany that she's really meant to be with Seb after all, she runs to the cinema where they were supposed to meet and stands in front of the screen to find her man. They slowly lean in for their first kiss before the reel rudely catches flame and interrupts them. We're then treated to a soaring sequence at the Griffith observatory which perfectly captures the feeling of being in love through surreal imagery and music. It's the perfect, epic set-up to the couple's first kiss which never fails to paint to a smile on my face.
3. Mia's Audition Reprise
The film makes a point of showing Mia getting repeatedly knocked down at auditions so by the time we get to this final one, we feel as down-trodden as poor old Emma Stone. The set up of this scene is pretty mesmerising. All we have is a spotlight and a song which is bound to send shivers up your spine. Like most of the musical numbers, it's made to appear as if it was shot in one take and the effect is beautifully immersive. La La Land is a film of feeling, so whilst logically the scene makes zero sense, it just feels right. Emma's vocals are also pretty decent here too!
2. Traffic Jam
This is the moment where you either embrace the madness or dash out of the cinema to get your money back! The traffic jam routine has already become an iconic movie moment and for good reason too. There's no denying the technical mastery of the scene which sees a full-on song and dance routine directed in one incredible swooping shot. It's absolutely jaw-dropping and the song, Another Day Of Sun is arguably the most infectious of them all. You'll be humming it all the way home, whether you like it or not.
Some people think that the film would've been better if the entire epilogue was left out, but I simply don't understand this opinion. Just like Chazelle's previous film, Whiplash, the final ten minutes of La La Land are pure movie magic. Any other romantic musical would end on an uplifting, crowd-pleasing note but here all expectations are subverted to heart-breaking effect. It turns out that Seb and Mia went completely separate ways to pursue their dreams but their love for one another is still very much apparent. We're treated to a stunning musical sequence which imagines how things could've worked out for them if life was an old-school musical. It's a powerful scene filled with dazzling imagery and of course, spell-binding music. The last look Mia gives to Seb is one of the most perfect final shots in recent memory and will surely have you reaching for the tissues.