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TIFF 2016: La La Land Storms Toronto



In one of the more unsurprising events at this year’s Toronto Film Festival, Damien Chazelle celebrated a standing ovation following the screening of his much anticipated Oscar frontrunner La La Land.

On Monday, following a successful festival run including Venice and Telluride, La La Land became the hottest film of the year, with an explosion of buzz online that beat even its closest contenders. Birth of a Nation had one objective – put Parker’s historic rape case to bed. Lion just wanted to put itself on the map. Then there’s Chazelle’s homage to the golden age of Hollywood musicals, a film gaining so much hype they had almost insurmountable expectations. Yet somehow it continues to defy, to astound and to establish itself as the one to beat this year.

Reaction from the Toronto crowd has been not just kind but passionately celebrating the movie. “I don’t think you can love more than I love this movie” said Erik Davis, “I want to watch it again & again & then marry it & live happily ever after”. While Grant Furuholmen has “already decided that I am going to see at least 5 times in the cinema”.

There is not a bad word said, particularly towards Emma Stone who is now widely expected to sweep the leading actress prizes throughout awards season following her win at Venice. Meanwhile, Gosling is getting good reviews but seems content playing second fiddle to his leading lady.

Chazelle is also riding the hype wave, and could easily see this translate into a directors guild, Golden Globe, BAFTA and Oscar win. However, we must stay grounded until Ang Lee and Scorsese present their latest offerings.

What we do know is that, while many films screened at Toronto tend to leave with more positive reaction than bad, La La Land has compounded an already promising start to awards season and adopted a legion of adoring fans who will ensure this gets seen and heard by as many people as possible. Could this be the first musical to win Best Picture since Chicago?

Oscar and film awards expert. American Beauty, Grease and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre are prominent DVDs on my shelf.

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