This week we watched La La Land, we heard good things about this film, but apart from knowing it’s a musical, didn’t know too much about it. We chose to see this more on the fact it was from writer/director Damien Chazelle who made the excellent Whiplash.
The film opens with a huge traffic jam, a driver looks to be getting out of their car to see why the cars are not moving, then breaks out into a big song and dance number ‘Another Day of Sun’ which will make you think of the great old Hollywood song and dance films.
At the end of the number, we see Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress, who has missed traffic moving again, whilst going in her own world to rehearse lines for an audition, blocks Seb (Ryan Gosling) a jazz pianist from moving on and they share a brief moment of road rage.
We then follow their individual lives, Seb, we learn from his sister, Laura (Rosemarie DeWitt) that he has money problems, but believes he will open his own jazz club. To make ends meet, he works at a restaurant run by Bill (J.K. Simmons) but is not allowed to play any of his chosen music.
Next, we follow Mia, who is working as a barista on the Warner Bros film lot, after another failed audition, her 3 roommates talk her into a night out to lift her spirits, after the end of their evening as they all go their own ways, Mia finds her vehicle has been towed. On her walk home, she hears a piece of music which she enjoys so enters the restaurant it is coming from.
The music she has heard is an improvised piece written by Seb, who is promptly fired for not playing the set list. As Mia goes to congratulate him, he promptly blanks her.
Mia again has a chance encounter with Seb when she sees him playing keyboards in an 80’s tribute band. She then has fun humiliating him further by requesting further songs which he is clearly keen on.
The two meet up after the party and we then follow them go from not getting along to becoming lovers. Up until this, the film was amazing, but it does drop a bit in its ‘feel good’ factor when the 2 get together, as eventually, they have to decide if they need to drop their dreams.
Seb takes a paying job in a band led by an old school mate, Keith (John Legend) to raise money but touring etc takes him away from Mia.
Mia, in the meantime, has written a one-person play to perform, as a last attempt to break it into Hollywood. Their relationship eventually looks like it is about to fall apart when Seb misses her play’s opening night, having to do a photo shoot for the band.
When so few attend Mia’s play she breaks down and feels she has to give up, she also believes she is not in the right relationship, as Seb has changed completely with the band’s success. With him prioritising the band over her, she also challenges him on giving up his own club dream. They both say things in the heat of the argument which are hurtful, so much so, Mia retreats to the comfort of her parents home, ready to start again and give up on her dream
Unbeknown to Mia, a studio exec was at her one man show and was wowed enough to offer her a role in a show in Paris for 3 months. Seb rushes to tell Mia and the two have to have a heart to heart about the decisions that will follow.
Seb tells Mia, she must follow her dream to Paris but he accepts it could mean the end of their relationship if he is to stay behind and follow his dream to build a jazz club.
We shall not tell you what Mia chooses but we will tell you this film is an utter delight, we will be amazed if La La Land doesn’t make our end of year top 10, the big question is will it be 2 films for Rya? We have high hopes for him in Blade Runner 2049, one of our most anticipated for films of 2017.
The song and dance feel may make it feel like an old time musical but the questions it raises such as not giving up on your dream and relationship dilemmas are still as relevant today. The film is also aided by absolutely brilliant performances from Gosling and Stone.
Already winning many awards including Golden Globes but are Oscars to follow?
You can watch the La La Land trailer at the film’s website where you can also find links to the soundtrack which it is highly likely you may want too
Did you like La La Land, Are you a musical fan? What are your favourite musicals?
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