La La Land – Review

Posted By on January 18, 2017

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La La land is an original musical written and directed by Damien Chazelle. It took him 6 years to write the screenplay, cast actors, find the right crew and finally direct it. Chazelle and Justin Hurwitz, who is the music composer on this film, always had a dream to make a musical together since they were students in university. This film was an attempt to tell a modern story of the 2000’s but with the vibe that musicals used to have back in the 1930’s. For Chazelle, finding the 2 main actors for the film was the easiest decision he had to make. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling had worked together twice in the past. They both seem to enjoy working with each other and it is true to say that they have a natural chemistry on screen. Staring in a musical film was a unique experience for both actors as it was something new in their acting career.

The film was a complete success as it is nominated for so many awards. Most recently at the Golden Globes, the film was nominated in 7 categories. The categories included Best Actor for Ryan Gosling, Best Actress for Emma Stone, Best Director and Best Screenplay for Damien Chazelle, Best Original Score for Justin Hurwitz and Best Original Song for ‘’City of Stars’’. The La La land team was thrilled to receive all the Globes that it was nominated for.

The story takes place in LA.  Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) are stuck in traffic in the middle of an overcrowded highway. The two get into a road rage and this is how they first meet. Mia is a struggling actress who works as a barista in Warner Bros Studios. Simultaneously, she goes to multiple auditions to follow her dream in acting. Her auditions keep failing her and she constantly feels that she is not good enough to become a successful actress. Sebastian is a very talented jazz pianist who performs at a restaurant in which he is, in fact, not allowed to play jazz. He is disappointed with his job, but, since he has financial difficulties, he needs the money to make ends meet. He is also worried that jazz is slowly dying and feels obligated to do something about it. Sebastian’s dream is to buy his own jazz club where he can perform the music he loves. Two dreamers from two different worlds keep bumping into each other in such mysterious ways but they do have one thing in common, they both know how to dream. ‘’Who knows? Is this the start of something wonderful?” Mia and Sebastian meet at a time in their lives where they had been both let down, feeling hopeless to move on and needed that someone to help them rise up. The two come closer when they share their dreams about the future. Sebastian boosts Mia’s self-esteem and reinforces her passion for acting despite her failures. He shows her that he believes in her. Mia is impressed with Sebastian’s abilities in music and supports his dream in opening his own jazz club. Mia and Sebastian soon fall in love and everything changes.

Emma Stone as 'Mia'

Emma Stone as ‘Mia’

Ryan Gosling as 'Sebastian'

Ryan Gosling as ‘Sebastian’

I personally loved this film and it has undoubtedly become one of my favourites. La La land brings an electric energy to its audience, and it is impossible not to emotionally invest in it. Emma and Ryan prove that besides the fact that they are both great actors, they also have some serious skills in dancing and singing. Ryan’s astonishing performance on the piano left me breathless – the magic he brought on screen while performing those jazz pieces was so overwhelming that you could easily believe that he is a real musician, a natural talent. Chazelle’s story was pure and mostly based in real life. He did an amazing job in directing by making the camera seem like an actual character that could take action, an interesting approach in directing that perfectly matched the story. What can I say now about Justin Hurwitz… the music he composed for this film was beyond wonderful. Listening to this music can make you feel in so many different ways, you can smile and cry at the same time. A music that takes you to a ‘’City of Stars’’ where your imagination is set free and you can dream anything you have ever wished for. During the film, I had such intense feelings that I felt the need to express them by crying. When this happens, I am more than impressed, because that is the moment I recognise the true value of a film. Not many films can emotionally touch your heart and that is when you truly appreciate them.

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It is extremely remarkable in films to be able to find yourself in the characters, people who you share the same experiences as you do. Both characters are passionate dreamers who are struggling to pursue their dreams while falling in love. Which one is more important?  Pursuing your dreams, or falling in love? Our dreams define who we are and that is why we need to fight for them despite the consequences. Dreamers are soldiers. No matter how many times you fail you must always find the strength to stand up. True love may be the best cure to enlighten you and help you rise. Love is out there, so if you have not found it yet never stop looking for it. It might be hardest one to chase in life but when you find it your heart will speak to you. You will know it from that spark that will light up inside you. This spark will grow into a warm corner of your heart and will stay there forever because true love never dies.

 

…’’And here’s to the fools who dream,

Crazy as they may seem,

Here’s to the hearts that break,

Here’s to the mess we make’’…