Recently, a friend and I spontaneously neglected our studies late one night (sorry, Mom) to go and see “La La Land.” I am by no means a film buff like some of my friends, but I knew that if a movie won seven out of seven of the Golden Globes that it was nominated for, it was probably worth seeing.
I’m just going to start raving here: this movie actually might have secured the position of my favorite movie. At least my top five, joining other musicals like “Singin’ in the Rain” and “My Fair Lady”. I’ve been listening to the soundtrack pretty much non-stop since seeing this cinematic masterpiece, to which my friends can attest. I have the piano songbook on pre-order for when it’s released in February. And then I hear that this piece of filmic genius is now nominated for fourteen Oscars?!
So here I am on a Thursday night, the night before my article is due, creating a list of as many reasons as I can come up with as to why “La La Land” is The Movie To See.
1. Emma Stone
Playing the leading lady Mia, Emma Stone is a quadruple threat. An actress in a movie acting about being an actress who is also acting? Not to mention singing and dancing and looking perfect while doing so. I'll readily admit my bias when it comes to crowing about her, but watching her performance in this musical will convince just about anyone of this.
2. Ryan Gosling
For years, I had no idea who Ryan Gosling was. I've never seen The Notebook or really any of his other films. However, I do know his reputation among women who swoon over his looks in every movie. I'll admit, this man is talented. He can act. He can sing. He can dance. He played all the piano for this part, for heaven’s sake! And he looks pretty damn good doing it.
3. The chemistry.
Oh my goodness, the chemistry between these two actors was so spot on, I commend the casting department. I 100 percent lost myself in this movie and the two of them did such a good job making me forget that their relationship was written out on paper.
4. The script.
Shout-out to the writers of the screenplay itself. Wow. The relationship and the interactions between Mia and Sebastian (no doubt supplemented by the acting capabilities of Stone and Gosling) were so cohesive and realistic, it made my jaw literally drop open. I actually turned to my friend in the theater and he had a very similar expression on his face, so it's not just me being blown away by the script and the acting.
5. The music.
Firstly, let me inform those of you who don’t know, that Justin Hurwitz, a 32-year-old composer, wrote the soundtrack and the original songs for this musical. (He also wrote some music for Whiplash in 2014, if that gives you an inkling of how awesome his music is.) Not only did he write the music, but La La Land won the Golden Globes for Best Original Song and Best Original Score. Plus John Legend has his own song which is just fantastic if you ask me.
6. The dancing.
I know very little about choreography and its execution but I know that it takes a lot of time and effort, especially if your opening number is on a freeway in the middle of Los Angeles. And since I'm not a dancer myself, I'm sure it's much easier for me to be impressed by these dance numbers. But what I found interesting was the different styles of dance that were incorporated. The opening number had a much more modern theme to it, while later in the film Mia and Sebastian perform a tap dance and even a waltz after that.
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7. The singing.
Okay, so I've already touched on the music, but the actual singing itself? Phenomenal. I always forget that actors like Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling actually have talent pouring out of their ears and so, of course they can sing. Not to mention the fact that both of them have the perfect tone for singing mildly jazzy songs as well. Once again, kudos to the casting crew.
8. The cinematography.
I know literally nothing about cinematography but even I can recognize some nifty camera work, especially during the planetarium scene. Plus, my friend was raving about it on the car ride back home so honestly it must’ve been something quite special.
9. The symbolism.
I'm going to sound like the ultimate English nerd here, but I was wicked excited about the seasonal symbolism in this movie. Throughout my entire AP Literature class last year, we traced the parallels of the changing season and changing relationships and so the second that the word "winter" appeared on the screen, I had a sneaking suspicion that "La La Land" would be no different. And I was correct. It might not excite you, but I personally thought it was pretty cool.
10. The ending.
I’m not going to spoil it, but I will say that the ending made this movie so beautiful and moving and emotional and gripping and absolutely perfect and honestly if you haven’t been convinced to see it yet, please go see it anyway because I’m tired and over-excited about this beautiful film and music and just everything and I can’t put all my thoughts into words.