It’s the movie of 2016, the musical of the decade, the film everyone loves, even if they have a vendetta against movie-musicals.
That’s right, it’s La La Land.
When I first heard the news of this movie, I was beyond excited. I am, after all, a self-proclaimed musical enthusiast, especially movie-musicals.
Controversial, I know.
Unlike die-hard live musical lovers, I favour the repeatablity of movie-musicals, how I could watch it over and over if I so wished, and how I could memorise not just every line to every song, but every line of the movie.
Thus, understandably, La La Land is not just right up my street, but right at my front door. Scratch that, La La Land is right in my living room.
Well, at least I wish it was. (Roll on April for the DVD release.)
As you can imagine, my expectations were sky-high. But, were they met?
The movie opens in LA with an old-timey tune that will soon become a classic.
At least it will for me.
What I loved most about this opening was how the first person on screen was a person of colour, and was surrounded by people from an array of backgrounds. This song is the perfect representation of the eclectic mix of people LA is known for.
I know that La La Land has received mixed reviews due to it being – pretty much – whitewashed. I am aware of that. I do not condone that. I still enjoy the movie, and am grateful to see representation regardless of how sporadic it is.
This song – Another Day of Sun – sets the tone for all the following tunes: none of them were belted out, and none of them were about having the biggest, loudest voice. The songs are gentle, and ones you can sing along to quite easily.
As the movie progresses, we begin to get a feel for our protagonists: Mia and Sebastian.
Mia is bubbly, lighthearted, funny, and in need of an acting gig, as well as a pick-me-up. One of my favourite songs in the movie is Someone in the Crowd, a scene from which we can see above. (We can also see Mia’s sass.) This is because it shows how exciting and full of possibilities LA can be. It also gives a really great insight into the lives of 4 friends who share an apartment, and have moved to LA in search of their dreams.
Emma Stone is one of my favourite actresses because she is so funny so easily. She never has to try, and she never has to force it. That really comes through in this movie.
In the scene pictured above, we get an insight into Sebastian’s life, and how much he hates his work, how he feels like a sellout.
For this movie, Ryan Gosling learned how to play the piano, and this is our first look at him in action. We also really get a good impression of his character from this scene: he’s an ass. An ass, and a sellout. And he isn’t happy about it.
This movie is one about crossing paths. It reminded me a lot of Sliding Doors in that one decision holds a world of opportunities. Once Mia and Sebastian’s paths finally cross, the tone of the movie changes – we see a lovely relationship, a couple that bounce off one another, and have fun in the city where dreams come true.
I adore this relationship, and the movie is very much orbital of Emma and Ryan – very little screen time is given to anyone else. I like that we see Mia and Sebastian in their little bubble: it’s reflective of how love really feels, and what it’s like to fall in love in the hubub of a city, and in the midst of making your dreams come true.
Everything is hectic.
Everything is complicated.
Everything is heartwarming and exciting to see on screen.
In short, I loved the soundtrack and score to this movie, and think it complimented every movement in the movie. Even as I write this review, I’m listening and singing along.
Likewise, I loved the casting choices of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. Many people have criticised them for not being professional singers and dancers, but I completely disagree that such a thing takes away from the movie. If anything, it adds to the charm. Like what I mentioned earlier, I like that the songs aren’t belted out – not that there’s anything wrong with that – and I like that the dances aren’t perfectly polished. It adds to the realism of it, though I do understand that dancing and singing in the street is unrealistic on its own. But this is a musical, so anything goes.
The only thing I wasn’t 100% sold on was the ending. I’m content with it, yes, but I’m not completely happy with it. If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know what I’m talking about – let’s discuss in the comments!
If you haven’t seen the movie, you should go! I highly recommend.