La La Land is an original story of 2 aspiring individuals – Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) – who struggle to get by in Los Angeles, the city famous for its frivolousness. Mia who is an aspiring actress has been heading out for auditions with the hopes on getting a big break on screen, and Sebastian a dedicated jazz musician/pianist vows to revive jazz and opens his own jazz bar. This musical tells the struggles of these two individuals as they proceed to strive for their dreams.
This musical has met widespread critical acclaim. It has gotten an approval rating of 96% on Rotten Tomato and is nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Score and Best Song in the upcoming Critic’s Choice Awards. Of course, not forgetting it has won the Top Ten Films of the Year in the American Film Institute.
The movie started out on an odd tempo with two scenes, one with the choreographed traffic jam and two, the getting ready party. I get how the former is supposed to describe the sunny state of L.A and its jams but I felt that was kind of irrelevant. The latter, too, I felt was awkward but nice development showing the support Mia has. It was only until the second meeting between Mia and Sebastian that the movie seems to go back on track. Stone and Gosling possess this sort of on-set and most probably off-set chemistry as they sing and dance from the park bench overlooking L.A. to the scene in the Griffith Observatory Tower. Simply put, they were great.
Throughout the movie, we see how each character develops into the most unlikely person they thought they would not be. Sebastian deciding to take a leap of faith and play in contemporary jazz in a band led by John Legend. Mia deciding to quit her studio café job, and proceed with writing and acting her own one-woman play. There were a lot of self-doubts, with the former persevering on and the latter almost forfeiting her dreams.
Because an actor or an actress, or a musician is rarely employed, when they do, they are very much alive and be in the moment. La La Land, to me, is all about those moments. That instance when you auditioned in front of an inattentive panel of bored judges. That instance when you performed at your gig in a summer party by the pool or at a local eatery. That instance when someone finally notices the way you act, or sing, or jam. And I correlate to it all. (I work as a freelance emcee/host.)
The movie ends with a genius twist that – without spoiling – basically states that alternate endings are possible.
La La Land is released in all theatres in Singapore on December 9.
Watch the Trailer here.
Rating: 4.5/5 (Must Watch)