The famous and grand film festivals, read Venice or Toronto or Sundance or Cannes, are normally a good parameter to see the buzz surrounding Oscar-worthy pictures. At the just concluded Toronto Film Festival, there were a dozen of hyped movies out of which some were acclaimed while some perished without a trace. The Canadian film fest is considered one of the best litmus tests mainly because the principle award is decided by the audience. Past winners include American Beauty, Silver Linings Playbook, The King’s Speech, Slumdog Millionaire and 12 Years a Slave who have all captured the big Oscar prize.
This year’s Toronto award went to La La Land. It tells the story of Mia [Emma Stone], an aspiring actress, and Sebastian [Ryan Gosling], a dedicated jazz musician, who are struggling to make ends meet in a city known for crushing hopes and breaking hearts. Set in modern day Los Angeles, this original musical about everyday life explores the joy and pain of pursuing your dreams.
Now this win was not a surprise for most considering the buzz it has already created and the audience response at the fest was, as in previous screenings, brilliant! Like the director Damien Chazelle’s last film, Whiplash, it uses the under-used musical genre to the fullest and leaves the viewers enthralled, according to reports.
Talking about the critics, they are already going ga-ga over la-la. Here are what some of the renowned critics said:
- For Chazelle to be able to pull this off the way he has is something close to remarkable – Hollywood Reporter
- The most audacious big-screen musical in a long time, and – irony of ironies – that’s because it’s the most traditional – Variety
- It’s a movie with the potential to make lovers of us all. All we have to do is fall into its arms – TIME Magazine
- “La La Land” is magically in tune with its reference points even as falls a few notes short of their greatness – indieWIRE
- “La La Land” serves to remind us that movies can still be magical, and they can still provide the channel for us to see magic in the world around us – RogerEbert.com
Other contenders who have lit up the festival circuit are Birth Of A Nation and Moonlight. However, these movies are more about the depressing human struggles which are never popular amongst the jury. The runner-up at the Toronto Film Fest was the Dev Patel starrer Lion, a light and sweet family tale, which proves the point.
There are many movies to see the light of the day for this year (Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival, Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Halftime Walk, Denzel Washington’s Fences and Martin Scorsese’s Silence), but for now there is only one potential Oscar winner for this year, that rare musical which has set the hearts racing.
La La Land releases in theatres on December 2, 2016.