My Review: La La Land

  Photo: Chris White

Who knew Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone could sing? Or dance or play piano, for that matter? It’s pretty awesome!

The pair of star actors team up to play jazz musician, Sebastian, and aspiring actress, Mia, in Damien Chazelle’s La La Land. Fresh off its record-tying 14 Oscar nominations including Best Picture, the film is an ode to Hollywood musicals of yesteryear – but it’s not just another cutesy Hollywood film.

Stone’s Mia serves lattes to movie stars at a coffee shop on the Warner Bros. lot in Hollywood, fitting auditions for herself in between. Sebastian scrapes by performing gigs at dingy bars and restaurants. Both have dreams: Mia to become one of the movie stars she serves at the coffee shop and Sebastian a jazz club owner. Their paths cross at the most opportune time and a romance begins. However, Sebastian and Mia have to figure out what’s more important: their once-in-a-blue-moon romance or the spotlight they have always strived for.

Chazelle does an exquisite job of juxtaposing hallmarks of the Hollywood musical with touches of modernity. Case in point: many people believe La La Land is a love story, with a classic ending to a classic Hollywood musical. It’s not. Sure, there is a romance that blossoms between Sebastian and Mia but at its core, in the most simple terms, the film is about following your dreams and there are several clues given throughout to indicate this. Instead of ending it as we would expect with a film of this nature, Chazelle sprinkles some modern realism on his ending. This makes it a hundred times better. Lastly, I’d be remiss if I did not mention the ingenious score composed by Justin Hurwitz, including the eerily beautiful “City of Stars.” I’m a musical guy myself so I have a profound appreciation for great compositions like the La La Land score. There has been criticism coming from different fronts but, quite frankly, I don’t understand most of it. I think La La Land is one of the more brilliant films I’ve seen in quite some time and I wouldn’t be surprised if it wins close to or all of the 14 Oscars it’s nominated for. Yea, it’s that good.

“Here’s to the ones who dream / Foolish as they may seem”

I Give It An: A+

Check Out the Trailer Here

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