Film Review: La La Land

I have a confession to make: I love the Oscars. I love watching the red carpet shows, the fake smiles, and the spectacle of the awards show itself. Why? I’m not sure, but I think my love for the Academy Awards has its roots in the same place as my love for Downton AbbeyThe Olympics, and Kate Middleton. There’s something wonderful about watching something that is so foreign and seemingly unattainable. In much the same way that I will never medal as a downhill skier, I will also never win an Oscar for my acting skills. I guess it’s fun to watch people at the height of their careers take home a prize for all their hard work, even if their accomplishment is accompanied by long, overly politicized rants.

What were we talking about again? Oh, right–the Oscars. I love the Oscars so much that every year I say to myself, “This is the year that I will see every Oscar-nominated film. It’s happening. Bring on the popcorn!” And every year I find myself in the week before the show having seen only one or two of the nominees.

Oh, well.

This year one of the only nominated films I saw was La La Land starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. So since it’s Oscar week, I thought I’d share my review of this charming movie musical.

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The movie follows the lives of Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress, and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a talented jazz pianist with dreams of opening his own club. The two sing and tap dance their way across the screen with some fun songs and even better choreography.

The original music in the film is great–I’m listening to it as I write this post–it’s the perfect, lighthearted jazz music to play in the background while you work. In addition to the catchy tunes, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling have great onscreen chemistry, and they play their characters perfectly.

When I was planning out this post, I tried to think of some way to describe the film without spoiling the ending or giving away too much information. It’s a little cheesy, but the best thing I could come up with was one of those fancy, foil-wrapped dark chocolates. The movie is beautiful and flashy and delicious, but it’s also slightly bittersweet. It has all of the things you love about a hollywood style musical, but it also seems more true-to-life than other musicals you might see. The film tackles some big ideas about art and what it means to be a dreamer. Emma Stone’s solo number sums this up perfectly:

Here’s to the ones who dream,
foolish as they may seem.
Here’s to the hearts that break.
Here’s to the mess they make.

The movie is definitely an homage to dreamers–from the cinematography to the score and everything in between, you can see how the creators of the film value dreaming big and working hard to achieve those dreams. The question the film asks is this: how do our dreams and the dreams of those we love intersect? La La Land gives some interesting answers.

If you haven’t seen La La Land yet, you’d better go before Sunday! The film is nominated for fourteen Academy Awards, which means it ties Titanic for total number of nominations. If you have seen it, let me know in the comments what you thought!

Keep Reading/Watching/Tap Dancing,



One comment

  1. Nice review. A lovely movie.


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