From the opening number until the last note, La La Land had me captivated with its bright colors, sweeping shots of scenery, and riveting music. I walked in not knowing much about the movie, but left the theater downloading the soundtrack.
The movie opens with a dynamic number on a crowded freeway in Los Angeles. The diverse dancers and singers wear deeply-colored clothes, creating a visual masterpiece that complements the bubbly song, “Another Day of Sun.”
The movie follows Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), two LA artists chasing their dreams in the entertainment capital of the world. Mia is an aspiring actress while Sebastian is a jazz pianist, working towards opening up his own jazz club. The characters are interesting and multidimensional. As they fall in love, they don’t change who they are, and their dreams don’t fall to the wayside, which I really appreciated. While this picture may feature a love story, the main plot is about following your aspirations, despite setbacks.
Additionally, while the story may be set in modern day Los Angeles, the movie has an old-timey feel, reminding me of Singing in the Rain and Guys and Dolls. Even if musicals aren’t your cup of tea,
My favorite scene from the film, is the number, “A Lovely Night.” In this scene, Mia and Sebastian have a sweeping view of LA at twilight; all the sparkling lights of the city twinkling. The song itself is comical, as the two complain that they are stuck with each other on such a lovely night. The biggest surprise for me though was how well Stone and Gosling–neither of whom are known for their singing or dancing–performed the number. While it is clear they aren’t professional Broadway stars, they did an excellent job, and their imperfections made these movie star actors feel more like real people.
Overall, I was a big fan of this movie. It integrates modern society and technology while still retaining a nostalgic feel. Also, it was visually stunning, with captivating camera work and vibrant colors. This was a refreshing new movie in a sea of sequels and reboots.