By Zoe Redlich’20
“La La Land” was released Dec. 9 and is a beautiful blend of a musical comedy and a romantic drama, summarized well by its title. At the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, the film deservedly won seven awards including best Musical or Comedy Motion Picture.
The film begins with a large dance number which is set in the middle of a traffic-filled freeway in Los Angeles. The number is extravagant and colorful, and it establishes the movie’s balance between realism and sudden moments of fantasy. The plot follows Mia (Emma Stone), a struggling actress in L.A. At the start of the movie, Mia runs into Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a pianist trying to find a job where he can play jazz with the emotion and feeling that he feels it is losing. Although at first their different personalities clash, they quickly fall in love. Together they try to figure out how to succeed professionally while maintaining their integrity as artists and devotion to each other.
The film is directed by Damien Chazelle and is absolutely stunning. The use of color and light further aid the plot of the movie. Every scene is uniquely shot. The film is also divided by seasons along with a range of scenery, which work as a brilliant way to add feeling to each section. The plot takes place in Los Angeles, a city painted as a romantic and exciting place. The movie features many iconic locations such as the Griffith Observatory, and many scenes are filmed in the city streets. The film functions as both a love letter to the city as well as to old Hollywood musicals. Also, the movie often slips into a fantasy world, in which Mia and Sebastian dance in the stars or walk through a set that appears to be a painting. However, these scenes work well to shape the romantic and slightly whimsical tone of the film.
The movie is a musical complete with catchy songs and dance numbers. Although people in reality do not burst into song and dance, the movie is formatted so that the transitions from dialogue to song are completely natural. The music is also used to set the mood of certain scenes, as certain tunes recur in different parts of the film. The dancing is entertaining and adds another interesting visual to the movie, but is not as outstanding as many other elements of the film. While the two main characters ballroom dance multiple times together and there is a small tap dancing number, there are not many large and complex dances characteristic to a Broadway musical. However, many of the songs are shot gorgeously, using color and unrealistic elements to transport the audience into a different world.
One slight issue with the film is that the major difficulty the main characters face seems a bit forced and easy to solve. However, the rest of the plot flows very smoothly and makes the viewer forget any issues that there might have been.
In the end, “La La Land” is a sweet yet sincere film that leaves its audience humming its tunes and smiling.