Movies with a heavy musical feel do not usually find themselves at the top of my movie-priority list. I have always felt musicals were the most appropriate setting for such- and maybe the only appropriate one. However, upon being dragged to the theater by my family on a rainy Saturday afternoon, I hesitatingly obliged to give “La La Land” a chance. And I was not disappointed.
Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling as Mia and Sebastian are one of those couples that simply always works, with their easy chemistry in “Crazy Stupid Love” immediately coming to mind. A likeable, but not unappealingly flawless, pair that find their initial encounter in a traffic jam, they are charming and realistically, and often humorously, navigate life and its hurdles together.
Are the two professional singers and dancers in real life? No, but it really did not matter or take away from any aspect of the film, and in fact made it all the more charismatic. It was something new and different and offered an interesting balance to the dialogue; an entertaining relief from simpler exchanges of words.
“La La Land” effectively surveys and comments on the struggle to fulfill one’s dreams in a place so known for making, but more often breaking, them. It deeply reveals the truest desires of people: all they do to make their hopes happen, and the crushing reality of life that can heartbreakingly stand in the way.
Dynamic and incandescent, Mia and Sebastian’s fight to preserve their love but also pursue their aspirations culminates in a passion-fueled decision-making scene that sets the stage for us to ponder what direction their lives will go- and if they will ultimately find their way back to each other.
So as not to provide any unwanted spoilers, I will not go too specifically into the ending. But the way it pans out so dramatically and intensely, with the opportunity to see all the different ways each situation in life can play out and unfold, was mesmerizingly eye-opening and real. Ultimately bittersweet, I emerged from the theater thankful for being privy to the talent and beauty rampant in this film.