Escapism through movies, music and television shows allows viewers and listeners to take a break from their everyday lives. In some instances, the methods used to escape from our lives are so inspirational that they persuade us to take a closer look at the way in which we are living. Damian Chevelle’s Oscar nominated movie-musical, La La Land, is a perfect example of a fictional journey used to inspire and craft new outlooks on the world around us.
Set in the “City of Angels”, La La Land stars Emma Stone as Mia, a struggling actress, and Ryan Gosling as Sebastian, an ambitious jazz pianist, in their quest to find fame through rough times, life fulfillment and everlasting love. With captivating cinematography, catchy song and dance routines and jaw dropping performances by the film’s two stars, this movie truly lives up to all its hype and well-deserved Oscar nominations. It is an adventure in self-discovery as the protagonists strive to reach a place in a popular-culture stratosphere that is way beyond themselves. Finding fame in a city that is oozing with exceptional talent on every street corner, Mia and Sebastian want to make it big! But, they also want to make it there together. The eye-catching retro and subtly vibrant color scheme makes for effortless movie magic. It is nearly impossible to grasp all the poetic undertones populated throughout this film in merely one screening of it. What is truly making this film a standout against its respective counterparts, like Berry Jenkin’s Moonlight and Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea, is its inspirational message that if you work or dream hard enough, anything is possible.
The only category this film fails to thrive in is diversity in its cast. Being set in Hollywood, you would expect to see a more diverse cast, but La La Land is primarily dominated by Caucasian actor. There were higher expectations for this film to flourish in its ability to incorporate more people of color and LGBT representatives in its plot line due to its “ode to Hollywood” style. If they really wanted to depict a realistic portrait of Los Angeles and Hollywood, there would be a heavier emphasis placed on making the film as diverse as possible. The film’s downfall in diversity does not compromise the film’s overall message; it just makes L.A seem less realistic in the film.
Judging by the favorable critic reviews on IMDB, the 93 percent “fresh” rating on RottenTomatoes, and the six Oscar wins the film received at the 89th-annual Academy Awards — La La Land is simply a work of sheer brilliance. People cannot get enough of this film, which was nominated for 14 Oscars (tying for the all time record), including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Performances by an Actor and Actress in Leading Roles. While the movie itself has beautiful art direction in the way it was filmed and unbelievable acting, it is the overall message that makes this such a moving and heartfelt drama. After walking out of a showing of La La Land, I was hit with this overpowering realization that I need to do more with my life — take more chances, dream bigger, and shoot for the stars even though I might miss. There are not enough words to express how much I would recommend this movie to anyone — young or old, boy or girl, dreamer or cynic; it will make a difference in your perception of the ever-evolving world around us!