‘La La Land’ Review: The Sparkle of Romance and Music

By Molly Ryan

A trailer for the movie “La La Land” on YouTube.

*Spoiler Warning*

Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land” is a 2016 film that beautifully captures the essence of music and romance. The film is set in technicolor Los Angeles, the “City of Stars.” The movie follows main character Sebastian Wilder, played by Ryan Gosling, who is a jazz pianist who hopes of one day opening his own club for fellow jazz musicians to play their music, and Mia Dolan, played by Emma Stone, who is an aspiring actress waiting for her big break in Hollywood. 

The movie opens up with a big musical number called “Another Day of Sun.” The upbeat, musical number shows a traffic jam in Los Angeles, and all of the sudden everyone gets out of their cars and starts dancing and singing. Although fictional, this opening number was perfect because it showed how you can make the best out of a not so fun situation when everyone comes together. 

The end of the scene shows Mia in her car practicing her upcoming audition lines and distracted so she doesn’t notice the moving traffic behind her. Sebastian, who is behind her, is beeping at her, and then angrily drives around her and then flips her off. You wouldn’t think their first interaction would be something like this, but it weirdly was the start of their relationship. 

The soundtrack of this movie is highly underrated. Justin Hurwitz is the composer who arranged all the fantastic musical numbers for this film. One of the songs that really stuck out to me was “Someone in the Crowd.” 

This song features Mia and her three roommates Tracy, who is played by Callie Hernandez, Caitlin, who is played by Sonoya Mizuno, and Alexis, who is played by Jessie Rothe.. In the scene, Mia’s extroverted roommates are trying to get her to go to a party. Each of the roommates wore a bright colored dresses during he scene. This stood out to me because most people wear black, gray or white to parties to try to blend in. The girls were wearing bright green, blue, red and yellow. 

The song is a mix of jazz and musical theater, and the singer’s voices sound smooth like butter. At the end of this scene, the girls all get into Mia’s car, and they head off to the party. 

Some lyrics that help with main point of the movie include “Someone in the crowd will be the one you need to know, the one to finally lift you off the ground.” The person you want to meet will be at this party, and Mia ends up seeing Sebastian at the get together for the second time. 

Many people didn’t know that Gosling and Stone could sing and dance. In the song “A Lovely Night,” the two sing and tap dance together, and you would think they are professional singers. 

The personal dilemma Sebastian faces when pop-jazz musician Keith, played by John Legend, asks Seb to join his touring band adds an interesting spin that proves money can’t make you happy. Keith sings the song “Start a Fire,” which features Sebastian on the electronic keyboard. 

One thing that was not particularly enjoyable about this film was the lack of diversity. Most of the cast contained white people, and there was no representation of LGBTQ+ individuals in the film at all. 

Yes, this movie is typical boy meets girl, girl meets boy, they fall in love and inevitably don’t end up together in the end. But this movie was something different. It showed two people chasing after their passion who happened to meet at an awkward time in their lives. Overall, I would give this film  4.5/5 stars.

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