La La Land: A Love Story that isn’t Afraid to Tell the Truth

Nithin Reddy, Web Editor

With all the hype, La La Land comes through and shows us why it won 7 Golden Globes and was nominated for 14 Academy Awards.  This romance film goes away from the the classic tale of boy meets girl, girl falls in love with boy and they live happily ever after.  La La Land takes a more realistic approach on relationships and love that is common for most people.

Mia (played by Emma Stone) is a struggling actor in the middle of a dead end job working at a local coffee shop.  After missing another call back from her latest audition, Mia goes out with her friends to a party hoping to be cheered up.  After a night with her friends they all split up, and Mia walks into a restaurant where she sees Sebastian (played by Ryan Gosling).  They have a rough encounter as Sebastian is angry after getting fired from his job playing at the restaurant.

Months later, the two find each other again, and over time they start dating and fall in love.  The couple goes through their fare share of struggles as they try and pursue their dreams.

Speaking candidly, I don’t usually like romantic movies or musicals.  I find both styles cheesy and often predictable, but La La Land keeps you on your toes.  The movie isn’t as much about two people in love but how they can manage their love for each other.  Sebastian and Mia struggle to find a common balance between following their dreams, and keeping each other together.

The production of this film is very high quality.  You get a sense that you are watching a broadway play brought to the big screen.  The singing isn’t perfect, but that’s what makes this film great.  It’s real people singing without anyone enhancing their voice.  Director Damien Chazelle does a great job of putting these characters in a different light.  The numerous perspectives the camera takes allows the audience to see these characters in different ways that usually aren’t found in this kind of film.

As for the acting, Gosling and Stone play a wonderful 1-2 punch in this production.  Gosling portrays Sebastian as an advocate for jazz, whose passion is evident in every song he plays on the piano.  His enthusiasm makes him a dreamer as all he wants to do is let the world know that jazz is a lost art that needs to be brought back.  On the other hand,  Mia is much more practical.  She is pursuing her dream of becoming an actress in Hollywood films, but she understands that she can’t just wait for a chance to fall in her lap, she has to go out and take it.

The chemistry between these two actors is unparalleled.  They work together as if they’re one person, always in synch.  Even at each characters darkest moments, they’re able to make the audience believe them.

While the film was really well done, I didn’t think it was perfect.  There were times when I felt scenes were out of place.  I thought it was random when Mia and Sebastian fly off into the sky and start dancing.  I was confused how it related to the movie and if it made logical sense.  I also didn’t like the fact that the singing was heavily based in the beginning of the movie.  While it is a musical, the songs took up majority of the beginning and gave little opportunity to move the plot along.

However, this is a great movie.  La La Land does a great job at being entertaining while also being realistic.  I would give this movie 4.5 out of 5 stars.