Cast: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Rosemarie DeWitt, John Legend and J.K. Simmons
Director: Damien Chazelle
Synopsis: An aspiring Actress and a jazz pianist fall in love
‘La La Land’ is the second feature film from Director Damien Chazelle, and tells the story of an actress and a jazz pianist who come across each other and eventually fall in love. First off, this musical is reminiscent of the old Hollywood musicals from the 50’s and 60’s, so you can tell why people are referring to it as ‘a love letter to Hollywood’ because it is exactly that.
The use of colour works well with ‘La La Land’ as it portrays a perfect, dreamy Los Angeles setting and makes it feel warm and welcoming. The film explores themes of romance between Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone) and the interaction between the characters is realistic and relatable to so many people. The film also explores Duality, in the sense of the characters seeing themselves as different people. For example, the use of mirrors is key to why this works, we see the characters look at their reflection and possibly see themselves as their dream. In one scene Mia (Emma Stone) is singing while looking in the mirror suggesting that she sees the actress within her, which is her dream and aspiration. With another scene, we see Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) looking at his reflection in the car wing mirror. This is the first time we see him, he’s seeing who he wants to be. This leads on to the films main theme in my opinion, and that is to ‘follow your dreams’. Throughout the film, we see the character’s struggles, to become who they dream of being. This is, again, shown using mirrors, the characters are seeing in the mirror, who they aspire to be. The Film communicates this message to the audience, almost as an inspiration tool, telling you to pursue your dreams and never let anyone stop you from doing that, “People love what other people are passionate about” – Mia (Emma Stone)
Obviously, this is a musical, so the music is important. The song ‘City of Stars’ is excellent as it relates back to the theme of duality. The fact that there is this ‘city’ that they see in their imagination or dreams that is so perfect it can only be expressed through music. It suggests there’s a paradise or destiny that we cannot see, but we hope or dream is there. The song and dance routine is nostalgic and is a complete throwback to the Hollywood era of musical’s where the musical numbers were extravagant and fantastical, and were performed on a huge scale with hundreds of people. The film’s final act was written and directed masterfully and ends with a beautifully crafted scene that makes this film an absolute masterpiece. In 30 years from now, this musical will be a classic, and a classic that us teens will show to our children, just as our parents showed us ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and ‘The Sound of Music’ There really is nothing bad to say about it in my opinion
‘La La Land’ absolutely deserves a 5/5