La La Land tells the story of aspiring actress Mia (Emma Stone) who is attempting to navigate her own way through the competitive environment of Los Angeles. Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) has hopes to share his love of jazz music and open his own music club to save the genre. Drawn together after a series of unexpected meetings, the two are propelled into a wondrous blur of romance and music, whilst embarking on their own endeavors to achieve their dreams in the colorful big city.
It’s been a long wait for this award-winning feature to arrive in the UK. Over a month after the US release date and with a comfortable collection of seven golden globe now under their belts, it arrived in UK cinemas with high expectations for glory. Thankfully, did not fail at living up to those expectation. The music is captivating, characters are charming and the story doesn’t fail to entertain and provide glorious pleasure for all to witness.
A Beautiful Background
There is no doubt that the setting for this romantic musical is truly gorgeous. It may be situated in modern times, yet hints to an older traditional Hollywood era which is portrayed flawlessly throughout. It brings forward retro and wonderful aspects from the 1960’s style of America. The homages to the golden age of cinema – typically thought to be around the 1930’s- 1960’s – are so wonderfully portrayed, you can’t help but feel incredibly attached to the romantic surroundings.
The colors throughout are glorious, with plenty of sunset hues that compliment the romance and present a glowing backdrop for the venture for love. Color is also a prominent element in the costume departments; Stone graces the screen in a kaleidoscope of various dresses, with plenty of primary colors making her stand out in the most subtle of ways.
Music to Your Ears
The soundtrack is delightful and sticks with you even after the film has finished. Granted, it’s not quite the same as old fashioned musical numbers that have been performed across numerous stages across countries but I feel like that was kind of the point. We have always been aware that Gosling can sing and is fairly musically talented and Emma Stone has displayed rare bits of vocal flair, but the duo execute a wonderful pairing that compliments the era depicts. The two don’t come across instantly as a first choice for a musical theater performance, but the unexpected casting does benefit the film overall, bringing more of a down-to-earth experience.
The songs are contenders to become future classics and are already getting plenty of award nomination buzz, with two Oscar nominations for the songs City of Stars, and Audition (Fools Who Dream). Another Day of Sun is a wonderful opening number which doesn’t fail to bring a grin to the faces of viewers; even the opening titles are pleasing to watch, thoroughly immersing in the classic Hollywood theme.
The tale is fueled by love, that of music itself as well as the love the two share for each other. It’s a glimpsing love that is inevitably quick to flee in exchange for the dreams they both have had from the beginning; a sad yet wonderful ending that some viewers may not expected. The narrative plot follows a roller coaster of emotions, from pure happiness and devotion to the undesirable break-up and downfall of relationship due to the disconnection between their personal career goals.
La La Land manages to provide a comfortable balance between a true Hollywood nostalgic picture and an anti-Hollywood movie; a contrasting argument, yet one that does apply pretty well to the feature. It’s most definitely a unique take on musical cinema, highlighting the glitz of Hollywood and then constructing such a unconventional conclusion that defies all that is already known about Hollywood love stories. The ending does coax out a mix of opinions – you either love the concluding scenes or you’re just so upset from the knowledge that they didn’t end up together the way you’d presume. Personally, the ending is a refreshing and brilliantly executed take on romance, it supports the hard-hitting truth that not all love lasts forever, even when it seems so perfectly matched.
There’s been a trend more recently in cinema where a film doesn’t quite live up to the large expectations I hold before entering the big screen – take Batman v. Superman or even Passengers, but I’m very glad to confirm that La La Land did not conform to the same fate that these 2016 flops experienced.
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