Over the winter break, I had the opportunity to go see La La Land in theaters, which was a very surprising and pleasant experience. You see, I am not the biggest fan of musicals. I think they are cheesy and unrealistic, which is why I didn’t have any expectations for this film. Most musicals I’ve sat through, I ended up losing interest or disliking it and I do not think it was the film’s fault, but rather my own for not being able to enjoy what kind of movie a musical is.
However, thanks to La La Land, I have a newfound appreciation for musicals.
This film takes place in modern day Los Angeles and follows the story of Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a dedicated jazz pianist as they both fall in love and follow their dreams of success.
I love how this film does not sugar-coat the struggle of trying to make it big in Hollywood. Early on in this movie, we see Mia going to audition for a role, yet despite how prepared and confident she is, she doesn’t get the part or the casting directors ignore or disrespect her. Or how the character of Sebastian, a jazz purist, struggles to find a job where he can play the music he wants to play. These characters have to fight for what they want, while also avoiding obstacles in their path.
The musical numbers in this movie are fantastic and for the most part, did not annoy or distract me. Other musicals I have watched in the past seemed like some musical numbers were forced or unnatural. I did not feel that way when watching this film. The numbers in this film never felt forced and tiring. In fact, La La Land seems to have more instrumental pieces than musical numbers, which is odd for a musical. Either way, the score was phenomenal. I was humming some of the music on my way out of the theater.
This movie is written and directed by Damien Chazelle, the same writer and director of the 2014 movie, Whiplash, which was another movie that was heavily music oriented. So, it seems like Chazelle knows what he is doing when it comes to making a music-oriented film. I hope to see more great films from him because I loved both Whiplash and La La Land.
La La Land is a film that everybody should go see. For those who do not like musicals, give it a shot. It may surprise you. For those who have never seen a musical, I’d say this movie is a good starting off point. And if you are a movie lover, chances are you’ve already seen it. La La Land is truly a delightful and fun experience.