"The whole idea was to have this be a continuum with everything… to not have this be a 'stop and start' musical. Obviously, the numbers begin and end to a certain extent, but it should feel very seamless…" shared director Chazelle. La La Land
encapsulates "The heights of musical spectacle that we're used to with old Hollywood - with a more documentary-informed sense of realism."
Seamlessness is one of the greatest triumphs in La La Land
, and this is largely due to the script — which doubles as the lyrics — feeling organic, as well as the tone of speaking matching the tone of eventual singing. This adds to the sense of realism that Chazelle mentions. Instead of hearing cliché and tired lyrics that are too romanticized to be spoken in real life, we hear real person-to-person conversations in the style of song. Oftentimes in the film, non-musical, simple conversations even start to feel as though they have a rhythm to them (my favorite example of this is Mia and Sebastian's argument
during dinner). The collaboration between Chazelle and Hurwitz in this sense is absolutely impeccable, and the duo is able to achieve what feels like a two-hour-long, uninterrupted musical number with visuals to match every beat.
What also stands out is their ability to create emotion within music and sound unlike any other director-composer duo, regardless of genre. Whether it be a space-centric experience, creating audio and visuals to capture the feeling of sadness and isolation like in First Man
, or the anxiety-inducing Whiplash
, Chazelle and Hurwitz hit the nail on the head no matter the genre.
Both Hurwitz and Chazelle have transcended many norms in the world of film and music and gained notoriety because of it. Namely, the film Whiplash
received five Academy Award nominations, including best picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. In terms of sound, the film won the Academy Award for Best Sound Mixing in 2015 and was nominated for the Grammy for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media the same year.
Once again in 2018, La La Land r
eceived astounding critical acclaim, winning all seven of its Golden Globe Nominations: Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Additionally, it received 14 Academy Award nominations — and made Chazelle the youngest person to date to win an Oscar for Best Director at the age of 32. For sound, Justin Hurwitz won two Academy Awards for La La Land
: Best Original Score and Best Original Song for "City of Stars." The composer also won two Grammys in 2018, one for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media
, and another for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media
— both for La La Land
The two are currently working on a project entitled Babylon
, which will be a period piece set in Hollywood during the historical transition out of the silent film era. The film is set to release this year and will feature stars such as Tobey Maguire, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie. Once again, Chazelle will direct this feature while Hurwitz will create the score. I expect nothing but greatness from this project and look forward to seeing it this December to re-experience the wonderful musical and cinematic experience Chazelle and Hurwitz are able to create as a team.