Film Review: La La Land
Cast:Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, John Legend
Music: Justin Hurwitz
Genre: musical, romantic comedy
La La Land is an unconventional musical with a very conventional plot line, and it is both visually and lyrically delightful. Although set in the 21st century, the movie has a distinct old-world retro charm, and is packed with mesmerizing music and compelling performances,that for the most part, make it an exhilarating ride.
The plot is relatively simple. Mia is your average dreamer who works in a coffee shop and dreams of writing her own plays and acting and singing in them and Sebastian is a jazz pianist whose career is on the rocks. One day Mia overhears Sebastian’s soulful playing and walks into the restaurant at the same moment he is fired from his job. Of course, we don’t get a love at first sight kind of a romance here, and it’s only months later, the two meet each other again at a party and begin to see each other, despite professing to not share any mutual romantic interests. But although their relationship blossoms, real life gets in the way and the duo begin to prioritize their careers over their love and start making sacrifices at the cost of their personal happiness.
What La La Land succeeds so admirably is in the way it takes a typical love story and literally turns it on its head. It goes on to show, musically and aesthetically, that love isn’t all about happily-ever afters and sweet, sugary romances and that love is still beautiful, without having to conform to such stereotypes. Two of the high points of the film are of course the music and the acting. Although there are comparatively only a few musical numbers, you’re likely to be humming them as you walk out of the hall. And while Emma Stone is absolutely pristine and lovely in her role as Mia, Ryan Gosling’s Sebastian, if a bit too stiff, makes for a charming performance. On a visual level, each frame seems to have been aesthetically curated, and injected with sunshine, energy and vibrancy. In fact, the whole movie has the quality of being a really dazzling painting in motion. However while the plot remains kind of weak, the magnificent ‘Epilogue’ sequence makes for one of the best movie endings ever. The subtle surreal elements also invoke a fairytale-ish charm.
Overall, La La Land is a gorgeous musical love story that has been very carefully and lovingly crafted-an elegy to the city of dreams as well as to the power of dreaming itself- and makes for a magical watch.