Photo via Dale Robinette/Lionsgate
This film not only deserves every award it was nominated for, but personally turns my head on a different axis, and made me wonder why love works in the ways it does. La La Land provides examples of 1950s-esque getting interrupted by modern day hiccups, a constant conflict between old and new love. The audience varies between ages but I found myself sitting comfortably beside wrinkled ladies who took up just slightly over majority. For the other half of the theatre: the 17-year-olds on awkward double dates, this realization is for you.
So far as the physical film goes, I find the director, Damien Chazelle really captured the retro 1950s and great cinematography tailored to size. Extensive thought went into each and every piece. Specifically, the vocals were a tad underwhelming but I wouldn’t have changed it because I think it brought the movie down to a whole new level of authenticity. It controls the piece and is the icing on the cake - vanilla - but still icing. I’ve taken advantage to the liking of this film because I know this is one that will stick around in the long run.
Our two stars in this film (Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone) have a complex love story that has every right to be analyzed. Gosling plays ‘Sebastian’, trying to make a living as a jazz pianist playing gigs in dingy bars. The passion he carries for this dying art is the epitome of sexy. Stone, playing ‘Mia’, is everything I want to be. She relentlessly dreams to be a famous actress while making minimum wage at the local coffee shop. The two come together and fall swiftly in love. La La Land receives its idiom for an out-of-touch reality they were living in (great job, Sherlock). There is a fragile line between selfishness within a relationship and recognizing the greater good for the individual. Mia and Seb (can I call him that yet?!) are striving for a balance within it.
Contrary to others’ beliefs, I see the climax being in Mia’s big audition, almost as if it were the crack of emotion. In her most comfortable range vocally, she sings “the audition” captivating her audience far past just the two directors in front of her. Encouraging the fools who dream even if things seem far off. Slowly unfolding into reality, things go south for the two lovers, an interruption bound to happen.
Reality has a way of slapping you across the cheek. There is a moment of temporary betrayal as you watch the characters settle down and live their opposite lives five years down the road. Mia and her husband (not Sebastian) stumble inside a jazz club that is now owned by Sebastian himself. As his hands play to the tippy-top of the piano of his own populated jazz club, he has accomplished his own rung in the ladder. As Mia creates a name for herself as a well-known actress, she has achieved her solo dream. The conclusion scene was simplistic with Sebastian playing his signature ballad to suggest closure. Mia and Sebastian lock eyes and smile. Love came, it was, and it happened. A montage begins to play of what their life could have been if they avoided mistakes and follies, emphasizing every bit of emotion in their false reality.
You could look at your life so far through the lens of regret but you need mistakes in between to grow into the individual you are today. I think it just might be your best bet to manage a smile on a life quite bittersweet. Crooked, a toothy grin or merely a smirk. But my god, make sure it’s genuine.
So here I am, basically a walking advertisement, humming and whistling away. Rambling on about love and dreams when conversations are in need of some caffeine. I had no idea this musical could affect me the way it did. Don’t wait for this one to come out on Netflix; the extravagance is only half of the whole, whimsical yet applicable, La La Land.