The recently released film "La La Land" is getting a lot of attention from movie-goers and critics everywhere as award season begins. I found myself being drawn to this film as well for some reason and knew that I simply had to see it. I had high expectations prior to seeing the film and I was not disappointed.
*Warning, this article does contain spoilers.*
"La La Land" seamlessly combines an extremely modern plot with old-Hollywood musical elements. The film is so unique because of this combination and because the film does not have the perfect "happy ending." "La La Land" is a film that is extremely relatable to the average viewer. The two main characters, Mia and Sebastian, are struggling to chase their dreams and to stay true to who they are. Mia is forced to work at a coffee shop because she struggles to get acting jobs, and Sebastian wants to open his own traditional jazz club but can never seem to make enough money from various piano playing gigs to make his dream a reality. These two dreamers eventually fall in love and perform gorgeous musical numbers together that are inspired by the legendary Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, due to the lack of cuts in their dancing scenes. This is refreshing to see in the year 2017 and Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, despite not being known for their singing and dancing abilities, perform together beautifully. Their on screen chemistry is clear in this film and they are the two perfect actors to portray Mia and Sebastian. However, their love is challenged and ultimately ended because of Mia and Sebastian's career aspirations. Mia's move to Paris for her dream movie role and Sebastian staying in California marks the end of their relationship. It is ironic, though, because Mia is ready to leave her dream behind when she receives her callback for the film role that ultimately launches her into stardom. It is Sebastian who convinces her to go to that callback. Without him, Mia is ready to leave Hollywood for good and is not going to that callback because she feels defeated from her lack of success. Mia also reminds Sebastian that being in a modern jazz band is not his real dream even though it pays well. He realizes this later on and goes back to playing sporadic piano gigs but he somehow eventually opens his dream jazz club. So, these two characters both inspire and allow each other to achieve their dreams but then their relationship ends because they both pursue their dreams. Without each other, they never would have achieved their dreams but their relationship came at the expense of their dreams. This is what makes this film so ironic.
This film poses the question that many people are facing today: can you really have it all? Can you have a relationship along with a family and career that you love? Despite the fact that Mia and Sebastian do not end up together in the end, the film seems to imply that you can and I agree. Mia does end up marrying someone and having a child but Sebastian does not. It seems that the timing is the issue for Mia and Sebastian along with a few poor choices that the two of them make in their relationship. The fact that the film shows a "what could have been" sequence at the end of the film about how Mia and Sebastian end up together and both achieve their dreams indicates that you can "have it all." So why is this not how the film really ends? The answer is simple: because not everyone gets a perfect happy ending in real life. The typical Hollywood happy ending in a love story is not always realistic and this film shows that perfectly. It is heartbreaking to see Mia and Sebastian not end up together in the end but it comes as a result of the choices they make. It seems harsh but it is extremely realistic.
Another wonderful aspect of the film is the music itself. The music is so critical to the film especially since there are very few supporting characters. The songs are not over the top or flashy like the ones in old-Hollywood musicals like "Singin' In The Rain." Instead, they are so impactful and emotional that they are relatable to the viewer and are essential to the film's plot. The music is what brings Mia and Sebastian together and what makes for a devastating ending to the film. The music also represents raw and real emotions that Mia and Sebastian experience throughout the film. This film proves that you do not need over-the-top songs or Grammy award winning singers to make an exceptional film soundtrack.
Overall, "La La Land" is simply exceptional and refreshing. The characters are so relatable and win over the viewer. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling give outstanding performances with very, very little help from few supporting characters. The music and storyline captivate the audience and stick with viewers days after they see the film. The film challenges the combination of relationships and career aspirations and may leave viewers feeling frustrated about the ending but, it proves that life is not perfect and that each individual person's choices lead to whatever happens in their life.