Reviewed by Camille Jones
I went to see the fourteen-time Oscar-nominated film, “La La Land,” twice over the past month, and both times I saw it, I couldn’t help but be immersed in the beautiful sights of Los Angeles. This relatable, romantic, and magical movie musical really invests you in the characters and their passions.
The very first scene is a dance number in Los Angeles traffic. This number sets the theme of real people with real passions. Right off the bat, we see the “Technicolor world” of Hollywood. The modern yet bright and vibrant tones of the costumes make you feel like the scene is almost too good to be true. This magical phenomenon is recurring due to amazing costuming and lighting magic throughout the movie.
When the ensemble began the movie, the audience sees a diverse crowd in size, shape, and ethnicity, but also with a contemporary sound. The voices of the ensemble, along with Sebastian (played by Ryan Gosling) and Mia (played by Emma Stone,) were modern and sounded like real people, not classically trained powerhouses.
Although I do enjoy traditional Broadway voices, I’m a big theater nerd, I liked the fact the producers didn’t shy away from raw and real voices. Going along with this, what really made me fall in love with this film was the story. I thought it was going to be extremely sappy and corny, but it wasn’t. Instead, the movie challenges the idea of “love at first sight” and allows Sebastian and Mia to first conflict before they click
And although Mia and Sebastian were my ultimate couple goals, the plot also focused on the balance between work, dreams and relationship. Ultimately what made this film so relatable was the constant questioning of “what is my dream” and “is this my real purpose.” Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone were tailor made for these roles, I loved their on screen chemistry and the way they made the audience believe in their passion and desires. It was really refreshing to see a couple on screen whose relationship wasn’t all physical.
Along with this dynamic duo, the soundtrack was stunning. The mix of jazz and classical music is amazing and super creative. It really adds a whole other layer to the movie. Although I loved the songs, for being a movie musical, it only had around six to seven songs that the ensembles or characters sang; the rest is instrumental. It felt as though half way through the movie, the concept of singing was completely thrown away. I realize it may have been for stylization purposes or it maybe it didn't fit the plot to have additional songs.
Alas, the theater kid in me wanted little more music out of a ” movie musical.” And maybe that was a good thing because, when I returned to see the film for a second time, I was hungry for more. As a whole, I really enjoyed “La La Land” because of it’s originality and use of topical dreams to create an immersive and fun movie. And as far as the Oscars go, I feel as though La La Land will not go home empty handed.
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