REVIEW: “La La Land” blends the past and present

By Stephanie Chang, Staff–

Warning: contains spoilers

Two quirky individuals. Two separate dreams. A loving relationship. “La La Land,” directed by Damien Chazelle, is a romantic drama and musical with a splash of comedy.

The movie takes place in modern-day Los Angeles, yet it contains vibes of Old Hollywood. The movie is aesthetically pleasing, with the use of silhouettes, beautiful scenery and a tinge of vintage. The aesthetics of the film put together gives off a nostalgic vibe of the past, Old Hollywood– a place of dreams.

The opening scene is an extremely impressive feat. It starts off with enthusiasm and happiness– a freeway traffic jam turned broadway inspired performance. Singers and dancers emerge from their cars to join, as the camera angle changes frequently, from birds eye to up close.

From the opening scene, one can tell what the movie will consist. Large amounts of great music and well-choreographed dancing.

The plot revolves around the romance of Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a musician trying to save jazz, and Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress. Both have dreams– Sebastian’s to open a jazz restaurant and Mia’s to become a big time actress. However, both struggle to make their dreams a reality.

The two awkward yet charming characters meet on several occasions– on the freeway, in the restaurant and at a party. Eventually, they go on a date, “for research,” according to Sebastian.

Gosling and Stone portray the two characters well. Their undeniable chemistry and superb acting skills all lead up to a great portrayal of the two people in love.

Gosling and Stone’s singing and dancing skills are also to be praised. Gosling’s baritone voice and Stone’s soft one blends into a soothing duet, as shown in the addictive song, “City of Stars.” Additionally, Gosling plays all the piano in the film, a feat to be commended for.

Additionally, the movie has wonderful transitions that bring the audience from one scene to another flawlessly. When Mia first hears Sebastian playing the piano in the restaurant, the music transitions into the honking of the car, a scene that shows Sebastian’s side of the day.

The film is separated into seasons, which show how Sebastian and Mia’s relationship develop. Chazelle depicts a realistic relationship with Sebastian and Mia, with its ups and downs.

The relationship of the two have complications due to Sebastian’s and Mia’s contrasting aspirations, thus, they ultimately do not end up together. However, they help each other grow and play a part in realizing each other’s dream, which they both successfully achieve.

This bittersweet ending may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but it perfectly depicts life. Just like how Sebastian and Mia have to sacrifice their relationship to chase after their dreams, sacrifices– whether it is love or not– are to be made in life.

Although it has a bittersweet ending, “La La Land” contains a nice message that dreams are achievable as long as you stick to it. This must-watch film will make its audience share a few laughs, perhaps shed a few tears and leave with a content heart.

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