“La La Land”; the glitz and the glam


Stephanie Hollman, Staff Writer

Beginning in winter and continuing until next fall, the movie centers on the evolution of the romance between Mia (Emma Stone), who works part-time as a barista while pursuing whatever auditions arise in the hopes of making it on the big screen as an actress, and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a jazz pianist who uses his talents to raise money to open up his own jazz club.

What they have in common, besides their love for one another, is their ambition and pursuit for fame and fortune in ‘La La Land,’ an old nickname coined for the city of Los Angeles.

The roles of Mia and Sebastian couldn’t have been played better by anyone other than Stone and Gosling, who, after having been in three films together already, proved they could play lovers of any kind. In “La La Land” they play a pair whose tension stems from their love and ambition.

Despite their widely known reputations and appearances in movies of multiple genres, Stone and Gosling’s award-winning acting makes their characters believable, likeable and even relatable in how their attempts to follow their dreams affects those they love.

At just 31-years old, director Damien Chazelle, who rose to fame after directing critically-acclaimed “Whiplash,” cements his status as a serious director through his success in blending novelty with nostalgia in “La La Land.” Chazelle makes artistic and musical decisions that commit to the tone he introduces in the opening scene and keeps it consistent throughout the movie.

By choosing to film all the musical scenes in one take, for example, Chazelle perfectly captures the energy and reproduces the magic of the old-school broadway musicals. Like his previous films, “La La Land” is emotionally-charged and tugs at the heartstrings of the audience.

The way Chazelle presents the hardships of Mia and Sebastian’s relationship with each other and their dreams make it hard for the audience to root for either their love or success in Hollywood.

“La La Land” opens with the song “Another Day of Sun” and takes place on a traffic jam on a Los Angeles freeway. While its upbeat rhythm and electric dancing may be a bit of a surprise to some who aren’t familiar with musicals other than its modern renditions, such as “Glee,” the film easily becomes likeable for the performances and stirs up excitement.

Along with a few other good songs about Los Angeles, “Someone in the Crowd” and “Planetarium,” the rest of the music of the film reflects the nature of the relationship between Mia and Sebastian, which becomes tested in the pursuit of their separate dreams and ideas on success. Sebastian’s several renditions of “City of Stars,” which won the Grammy for Best Original Song, range from melancholy (his solo piano version) to very romantic (his duet with Stone).

While Sebastian believes greatness is an art that does not necessarily need to be acknowledge by others or an audience, Mia’s endless strive for approval from casting directors and the “who’s who” of Hollywood pushes her to believe in the opposite of her lovers. After nabbing seven awards at this year’s Golden Globes, including Best Actor and Actress in a Musical or Comedy, Best Director of a Motion Picture, Best Original Score, Best Screenplay, Best Motion Picture for a Musical or Comedy and Best Original Song (“City of Stars”), the film is a must-see that is sure to arouse excitement, sadness and a desire to listen to some classic musicals for nostalgia’s sake.

“La La Land” takes the audience on a passionate journey full of the ups and downs of life through song and dance, all of which is thankfully captured in the award-winning original soundtrack.

Stephanie Hollman is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]