Another Day of Sun
Not everyone loves musicals. Some favor action movies, a few love the thrill of a horror, while others adore the emotional roller coaster of romance. But no matter what movie genre is up your alley, La La Land has a universality that appeals to the core of the human experience. With the twists and turns of its plot, La La Land perfectly parallels the ups and downs that we all experience in our lifetime. The movie opens with traffic on a highway ramp. Then, everyone gets out of their cars, singing and dancing. And however much you may hate to admit it, you can’t help but smile. The rest of the film is not unlike the opening scene, with an amazing soundtrack, top-notch acting, and some form of emotion (whether it be joy, sorrow, love, or pain).
La La Land details the relationship of an aspiring jazz pianist, Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), and an aspiring actress, Mia (Emma Stone). Under the masterful direction of Damien Chazelle, Gosling and Stone chronicle Mia and Sebastian’s journey from being strangers to lovers. Mia and Sebastian meet briefly in the opening scene on the freeway, but not until she sees Sebastian playing piano at a cafe does she take interest in this new man in her life. Mia later attends a Hollywood house party, which (surprise!) Sebastian happens to be playing piano at with his band. Needless to say, Mia and Sebastian have natural chemistry with each other, and by the end of the night the two sing a duet on their way back to Mia’s car (“A Lovely Night”). The couple starts to spend more time together, and soon enough, problems arise. For the rest of the movie, Mia and Sebastian battle with balancing their personal interests, work situations, and their relationship. As for the details, you will have to watch for yourself; giving too many details concerning the rest of the plot would dampen the film’s effect.
Personally, I am usually not one to recognize a movie’s soundtrack, but as soon as La La Land ended, I sat in the theater thinking about all of its songs. From the soothing melodies of “Mia and Sebastian’s Theme” to the catchy pop elements of “Start A Fire” to the soft, sentimental “City of Stars” (winner of the 2016 Academy Award for Best Original Song), the film’s diversity of style and performance impresses, to say the absolute least. Overall, Justin Hurwitz produced an amazing score for this film that will surely not be forgotten for a long while.
All in all, La La Land is a movie that makes one think. About what, you may ask? Well, there are many aspects of the film that could stand out in different ways to different people. For me, and for many others, it was following your dreams. But, among many others, La La Land explores themes of fate, the roller coaster of life, the idea of what could have been, and the balance of reason and aspiration. I would recommend La La Land to anyone with two hours to spare, with some change.