Hollywood is presenting a new romantic musical, it is probably a movie for sentimental viewers, who want to see a boy meets girl, fall in love, get married, meanwhile everyone dance and sing a cheerful tune.
Well if you think “La La Land” fits this description, you’re in for a nice surprise, and here is 7 reasons why:
1- The movie is indeed a love story, between the aspiring actress Mia (Emma Stone) and the jazz pianist Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), however they hope to get more out of life than love, they also have dreams that they want to make come true, even if it meant they would sacrifice their relationship, though the break up for that reason is completely unexpected from a musical, the movie did warn us that this could happen with the very first lines in the song “another day of sun” the singer says that she left her boyfriend though their love for each other was true to follow her dream of becoming an actress.
2- The songs (composed by Justin Hurwitz and written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul) are not just cheerful and heart-warming like “another day of sun” they are also insightful and bittersweet like the theme of the movie itself.
A song like “The fools who dream” reflects Mia’s decision in falling in love, just like her aunt who jumped into the Seine when the water was freezing, and even though her aunt sneezed for a month because of it, and even though Mia’s heart would ache for breaking up with Sebastian, they both decide smiling that they would do it all again.
3- Emma Stone succeeded in depicting the witty young woman who would fall in love with someone, whom she at first didn’t even like, Stone also succeeds in adding a depth to the character and her ambition, it is easy to sympathize with her heartfelt performance of a song like “The fools who dream” or even just the look on her face when she sees Sebastian unexpectedly for what could be the last time.
4- Ryan Gosling is known of being capable of handling roles in romantic, dramatic, or even action movies, in “La La Land” he stretches his skills even further to include musicals.
His dancing and singing is another pleasant surprise, for it was better than expected.
5- The cinematography (by Linus Sandgren) and direction (by Damien Chazelle) was a delightful wonder.
They managed to amaze us with new shots like the one where the camera spins in the swimming pool in the song “Someone in the crowd” and the splashes of water obscure vision, it reflects Mia’s puzzlement if she really needs someone to find who she is going to be. Mixing this new shot with traditional ones like when her friends try to convince her to join the party, remind us of the classical musicals but with a modern twist, which makes “La La Land” a unique masterpiece.
6- We follow Mia after she breaks up with Sebastian, as she finally becomes a famous actress, marries a suitable man and have a kid, all of sudden she steps into a club with her husband, and it is Sebastian’s club, as the lights dim all around Mia, we drift with her into a fantasy where she gets everything she ever wanted, she falls immediately in love with Sebastian, they stay together as they climb their way to the top, they get married, have a kid, go to live in Paris, the fantasy ends, and Mia is still seated in her chair, she is about to leave the club and Sebastian, but they walk away with a mutual smile and a captivating tune that will always be theirs.
This scene captures all what a classical romantic musical would do in the fantasy part, and depicts a more grounded and modern choice for the characters in reality, the movie doesn’t condemn or condone either part, it brilliantly showcases each of them and allows you to enjoy them.
7- The movie is entertaining from the first moment to the very end.
It starts with a colorful and merry display of its music and dancing, and ends with a somber yet sincere smile from Mia and Sebastian, and hopefully the audience as well.
Nonetheless, the movie is not perfect, the scene where Mia and Sebastian fly in the planetarium, didn’t have enough foreshadowing to prepare the audience to this unanticipated move into fantasy, and the scene where Mia and Sebastian fight over dinner was a bit stretched.
Having said all that, “La La Land” is a unique masterpiece that combines the beauty of the classical musicals with the modern ones, the performances of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling is delightful and heartfelt, their chemistry is undeniable, the movie is quite entertaining and deserves the rating of 9/10.