“La La Land” Surpasses Expectations
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Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land” hit the theaters on December 9, 2016 and has since been nominated for over 190 awards, winning 78. Starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, this Hollywood musical tells the story of Mia (Stone) and Sebastian (Gosling) as they chase their dreams in Los Angeles.
Mia is a struggling actress who is weighed down by a series of failed auditions, and Sebastian is a jazz pianist whose dream is to own his own jazz club. After several encounters, the two fall in love, giving in to their obvious chemistry and pushing each other to pursue their dreams.
Their love story sounds like it would be your typical run-of-the-mill cliche, but it is actually unlike any romance I have seen in a movie before. Dates to jazz clubs and watching old movies create a classic feel to their love story, but it is really the very real modern-day difficulties they have in their relationship that sets them apart.
Realistically, every couple has problems, and so many movies and musicals choose to glaze over the bad and make it seem like love is all fun and games. Mia and Sebastian defy this norm, fighting over the fact that Sebastian is on tour with his jazz band and is rarely home.
Although the premise of the musical is captivating in itself, Chazelle choose to cast take it to the next level. Stone and Gosling’s on-screen chemistry is undeniable, and even though the two shine individually, when they come together it makes for something remarkable.
Originally Emma Watson and Miles Teller were set to be cast as Mia and Sebastian, and while these actors are also stellar, it is hard to imagine anyone playing the parts besides Stone and Gosling. The two fit the roles perfectly.
One of the best aspects of the movie was Sebastian’s passion for jazz and how incredibly good he was at playing the piano. I originally thought there was no way Ryan Gosling was the one playing- it had to be a piano double.
However, according to Gosling himself, “The director wanted to shoot all those sequences in one take, so there was no opportunity to squeeze in, or sneak in, a proper piano player.” This fact gives me an even greater respect for both Gosling and the musical as a whole.
The musical also impressed with the vibrancy of the colors portrayed on screen. Hues of yellows, greens, reds and oranges caught the eye through every scene, and the fact that so many of the outfits Mia and her flatmates wore matched the backdrops was absolutely stunning.
Mia’s fashion is by far one of the best aspects of the musical; every dress she wore left me itching to reach for my phone and find out where the dress is from. Her outfits were able to be both classy and trendy, something rarely seen in modern movies.
The only thing about the musical that I felt was lacking was Mia’s vocal abilities. Stone has a nice voice, but it is certainly not anywhere near the quality of Julie Andrews or Olivia Newton-John.
Although her voice is not the most technically perfect voice I have ever heard, I also understand that Chazelle probably wanted her voice to sound realistic and natural and not necessarily like the next big thing in music. Plus, Stone is an incredible actress, so that fact alone makes up for what is lacking in her voice.
The musical has a timeless charm and made me feel so many emotions at once- joy, sadness, and anger. It may be only February, but this musical could certainly be the best movie to come out this year.