Film Review: La La Land

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling pretend to know what it’s like to be struggling artists in Hollywood. A quintessential actress and hipster musician come together and tick all the right boxes in this Romance movie that may or may not be on some pretty heavy drugs.


Opening with a whimsically unexpected ensemble number that had me jiving in my seat – because I’m that movie goer – La La Land sets its tone from the off. Once, twice, third times the charm for Mia; a full time barista, spare time auditioning actress, and Seb; a Jazz Pianist without a band. Meeting by coincidence or by fate, the pair embark on an idealised summer of bliss.

Always auditioning and never the actress, Mia bets on herself and has a turn at writing and staring in a one woman play, whilst Seb lands a spot in an increasingly popular mainstream Jazz band. The perfect couple in their motivation of each other to succeed in their passions; it doesn’t take long for the cold air of reality to creep in.


La La Land is a Hollywood love story. I feel like amongst the La La-ness, it’s easy enough to forget.Boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy and girl try to find their happily ever after.

To be honest, because of the simplicity of the story, I don’t have a lot to say. The singing and dancing had the potential to strike a chord as odd and out of sync, if it hadn’t had been addressed at the very beginning. By doing this – and on a very catchy note – you just sort of went with it as they twirled around deserted streets, and floated around the Observatory.

The whole struggling artist thing did admittedly strike a chord with me as another one of those faceless creative with a vision amongst the masses, and so I can testify to the authenticity and truths displayed by Mia and Sebastian in emotion and dialogue.

I known I am normally the Captain of the SS Negativity, but I will say that this film was pretty amazing (Oscar worthy? Questionable.)  Timeless is the word that comes to mind. It incorporated age old cinematic elements; walking through rolling sets, tap dancing around lampposts and holding your breath for that big break. Honestly if it wasn’t for Mia’s Prius La La Land could be set anywhere along the timeline from 1940.

A random thought did flitter into my mind while I watched the uncomplicated dance routines and listened to Emma Stone not quite hit the note. Firstly, I think Emma Stone is a brilliant actress and Ryan Gosling a phenomenal pianist, so just stay with me on this: Was excellence compromised for mediocrity? Could two lesser known actors have done a better job at playing Mia and Sebastian, but the roles instead given to Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling to pull in the audience?


La La Land is that symbolic place that lives within us, stopping us from drowning in reality. The daydream of what could be and what could have been. The feeling of dancing on a cloud, kissing in the rain, and singing on the wings of a dolphin.

The ending cheated perfectly in giving us the ending we wanted but would never admit to wanting out loud once we had it. That ending can be best surmised in the Demi Lovato song of the same name; Some may say I need to be afraid, of losing everything, because of where I, had my start and where I made my name, well, everything’s the same, in the la-la land machine.


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