It’s insane that I’m just getting to watch this movie now especially since it officially premiered at the 73rd Venice International Movie Festival on August 31st 2016 and released on December 9th 2016. I am however JUST getting to watch it now, so I’ve decided to make la-la land the first movie review on I, isa. Yay!
Okay, so I was very skeptical to go see the movie when it first came out for a spectrum of reasons,
1. I’ve never really known myself as someone who enjoys musicales or movies in that genre and
2. . I couldn’t really picture Ryan Gosling in a musical.
So, unlike a lot of movies that I wait on their release dates and go see it almost immediately, I took my time with this one and honestly, it was a good watch.
La-la land is an American Romantic Musicale staring two people who meet and fall in love in Los Angeles while pursuing their dreams
The movie opens up with this massive singing and dance routine on the highway in traffic and I was already laughing, but was pleasantly surprised at how almost amateurish the routines throughout the movie seemed. They weren’t sleek but they managed to leave me feeling filled.
As the movie progressed I began to see how much depth it really had. It boasts the combination of a perfect blend of comedy, romance, drama and just a refreshing light hearted watch
A movie with an amazing Director and writer (Damien Chazelle who also wrote and directed 2014 hit Whiplash), wonderful acting, great songs (Justin Hurwitz is a musical genius) and very tangible chemistry between the two main characters (with enough experience of performing together in past movies including Crazy, Stupid, Love), very deserving of the seven wins at the 74th Golden Globe Awards (winning in every category it was nominated)
I found it really interesting watching Mia (Emma Stone) at the very many auditions she took part in while chasing her acting career. As someone who has always been enraptured by the art of acting and performance, it was really an eye opener (however little) getting a more in depth look at the behind the scenes, the work, courage as well as the rejection that goes into following that particular career dream or any dream at all.
The movie also asked the question ‘How much of a priority should chasing your dream be given?’
As human beings, we all have dreams, things we want to do, places we want to go and people we want to meet. But, we also have bills, and payments to be made. Is it worth it going after your dream with rent and feeding, light and water bills, loans and payments to make? Is it okay to give up on your dream if it isn’t fetching much and not seeming to go your way to focus on a steadier job with steady income? How important is your dream? Should you give it all up to go after your dream despite how rough that road may be? Would you?
Now, let’s talk about the music.
The first song in the movie that really hit me (Mia and Sebastian’s theme composed by Justin Hurwitz) didn’t even have lyrics but still managed to give me goosebumps.
I felt every note every strike of the piano, I felt his breath hold and release as mine held and released, I felt the silence in the background, I felt the noise in the background. At that point, it was just me, the piano, the notes and the way Ryan Gosling’s hair kept falling into his face.
People generally react to art in different ways; whether it be music, dance, acting, painting, sculpture. People feel things differently and see things differently, so the courage in putting out music where all there is to it is feel is beyond me.
I would have been scared and in my head thinking that no one will see what I wanted them to see or feel what I wanted them to feel, that no one will get it. To people it would be just be another sound on just another piano but they did it and they smashed it.
And this is a huge part of what jazz is which is another aspect the movie brought to light; bringing back jazz.
I for one didn’t grow up on jazz (and still frankly don’t knowuch about it) but have over the years learnt to respect and enjoy it, the likes of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus I’ve listened to and enjoyed.
Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) in this movie wants us to fall back in love with pure jazz; the one without electronics and computers, the one with just acoustics that selective and combative.
Today’s artists (subtly represented by Keith played by John Legend) prefer to think letting go of these conservative notions (the ‘neo-bop’ way) is the best way to save jazz.
This brings about the whole argument of what is real jazz and what isn’t. Did La-la land adequately express jazz with its idea on contemporary jazz or is the fusion jazz (like the likes of Esperanza Spalding or even Kendrick Lamar on his highly acclaimed album ‘To pimp a butterfly’ that payed homage to several genres including Jazz) preferable?
Is jazz really dying or are we just not looking hard enough?
The entire soundtrack had really amazing music (again, another nod to Justin Hurwitz) and another scene that really left me feeling goosebumps was the audition scene where Mia (Emma Stone) performed ‘The fools who dream’.
Here’s to the ones that dream
Foolish as they may seem
Here’s to the hearts that ache
Here’s to the mess we make
I couldn’t help but relate to the lyrics; I am one of those fools!
The locations as well were spectacular, summing up the American Dream and the passion the characters hold for Los Angeles and reminding all of us who have ever dreamed of going to Hollywood and joining the theater why we started dreaming those dreams in the first place.
I probably might have rewritten the end if given the chance and I remember screaming ‘what a horrible way to end the movie’ but almost immediately after started to realise how it wasn’t that bad of an end.
In summary, watching La-la land after two years was definitely worth while. If you have not watched it, I really suggest you do. Give it a try, you’d be surprised.
If you have watched it, please tell me what you thought about it and if you agree or disagree with me on some things.
Also, try and answer some of the questions; would you give it all up to go after your dream? How much are you willing to sacrifice for your ambition? Is jazz really dying?
I always love to hear from you so please, like, comment, follow, send me a personal request or message on my email