La La Land (2016)
Mia (Emma Stone) is an aspiring actress who is making ends meet by working at a coffee shop in Hollywood. Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) is a Jazz musician who is finding it harder and harder to find people who want to hear traditional Jazz. Mia and Sebastian fall in love and attempt to branch out to pursue their dreams, but they find that it is harder than they originally thought.
La La Land is both a unique film and a film that pays homage to the great films of Hollywood days gone by. The film starts off on an LA freeway where people get out of their cars during stopped traffic and dance around. This opening scene is odd and I didn’t quite understand the point, but after Mia and Sebastian meet about 15 minutes into the movie, everything seems seamless. The chemistry of Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone is perfect and they feed off each other well. I think without these 2, this movie would have suffered from being too stale, but these 2 performances are on point and great!
One of the aspects of this movie that I found to be so intriguing is the confusion on the time period in which this takes place. Obviously this movie is set in modern times, but I love how the 2 of them are at a party playing 80s rock music, then leave to dance/sing around a lamp post overlooking Los Angeles only for her cell phone to ring. It is as if this movie is having an identity crisis while making fun of itself at the same time.
The first half of the film is the part that sucks you in and makes you feel warm and fuzzy with the love these 2 have, but it is the 2nd half that lets you know this film is for real. It does stir up real emotions and real feelings that will touch your heart and question choices you make everyday. It is both sad and happy, but it is the way the movie presents the material that is special and unique.
The only downfall I see for this movie is the music itself. I honestly felt that the music early was weak and not worthy to being compared to Broadway musical, but as the movie goes along, the songs get better and better and it isn’t until the last 30 minutes that the music began to feel top notch and special. Some will like the simplicity of the songs in the first half, but they just seemed to be lackluster and for this style of movie, the music has to grab you from the start!
At the end of the day, La La Land is something that is going to impress music lovers, fans of old time Hollywood flicks and people who like romantic dramas. I’m usually not someone who likes this style, so for me to say it is good should say something about it. I mainly like it for Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as they are fun actors I enjoy watching, but I think everyone should give it a chance because it’s gonna be talked about heavily during award season! Co-starring John Legend, J.K. Simmons, Rosemarie DeWitt, Callie Hernandez, Damien Chazelle, Finn Wittrock, Jessica Rothe, Josh Pence, Sonoya Mizuno, and Tom Everett Scott.
8/10 Stars – Even for a movie that is not my cup of tea, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone have amazing chemistry while presenting us with characters we want to care about.