"La La Land" Review
Start writing a post
Entertainment

"La La Land" Review

The battle between fantasy and reality (Warning: spoilers ahead)

15
"La La Land" Review
Summit Entertainment

At a time when hit musical films are few and far between, Damien Chazelle’s La La Land is a triumph.

This is not to say that Hollywood has been entirely starved from musical films in recent years – there’s the Pitch Perfect franchise (2012, 2015), Les Misérables (2012), Begin Again (2013), Into the Woods (2014), Straight Outta Compton (2015) – however, none of these accomplished what La La Land did: a perfect balance between fantasy and reality. From the opening sequence set to the song “Another Say of Sun,” which takes place on a freeway in L.A. traffic, to the final sequence set to the song “Epilogue,” which illustrates what could-have-been for lovers Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), the movie generates a whimsical atmosphere steeped in the characters’ (oftentimes harsh) realities.

On the more whimsical end, the art direction is stunning, highlighting upbeat scenes with vibrant reds and yellows and those more serious with deep purples and blues. The cinematography is jaw dropping – unsurprising, of course, in the hands of Linus Sandgren, who was also cinematographer on award-winning films like American Hustle (2013) and Joy (2015). The soundtrack is catchy and familiar, generally carried by Stone’s and Gosling’s somewhat meek voices, which are easily forgivable given the film’s realistic roots.

At its core, La La Land is the clichéd story about two young artists who find each other as they’re struggling to “make it” in Hollywood, Mia as an actress and Sebastian as a jazz pianist – a relatable story if not overdone. However, it’s the performances of Stone and Gosling that keep it from sinking into banality. Despite the stereotypical, romanticized moments that leave you a bit skeptical, it’s Stone and Gosling’s masterful performances and chemistry that will keep you grounded (even when the two are literally flying across the screen). Chazelle’s comical jabs at today’s culture play into this authenticity as well, noting the excess amount of Toyota Priuses in L.A. or Mia’s awful job at a posh coffee shop.

This balance of realism and fantasy is ultimately what drives the narrative, nudging characters Mia and Sebastian through professional and emotional peaks and valleys as they try and fail in achieving their unattainable dreams as well as what eventually becomes their unattainable relationship. However, Chazelle continues to bring these characters together, as if controlled by an external force, embodying their earlier witty exchange:

“It’s pretty strange that we keep running into each other,” Mia says.

“Maybe it means something,” Sebastian replies.

“I doubt it.”

However, despite the hopeless romantic inside of me that rooted for these two, perhaps the best and most shocking element of this film was its ending.

After spending two enchanting hours entrenched in Chazelle’s La La Land, he jolts his audience out of the final and fundamental fantasy to pursue reality. Mia and Sebastian do not wind up together. In chasing and achieving their dreams – his a jazz club and hers a successful acting career – they are unable to be together. However, the final moment between them, which is simply a silent look of knowing across Sebastian’s club, provides a sense of hope for the two ex-lovers.

Chazelle, then, leaves it up to his audience to decide which they want to believe in more: the fantasy or the reality.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less
Featured

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

73388
houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee
nappy.co

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

134499
college students waiting in a long line in the hallway
StableDiffusion

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments