La La Land

The Film Itself

Boy oh boy. La La Land is the movie I didn’t know I needed in my life. I am so happy to have experienced this movie in theaters (even though I had to drive half an hour to see it. stupid limited release). I feel like someday my grandkids will discover this movie the way I discovered Singin’ in the Rain and say, “Grandma have you seen this?” and I’ll say “Seen it?! I saw it in theaters twice!” (Totally making my boyfriend see it now). And that’s the thing. You can’t talk about this movie and not talk about Singin’ in the Rain and I think that’s the way Damen Chazelle intended it. Not only does La La Land pay tribute to Singin’ in the Rain, it’s in league with it, which is saying a whole lot.

“Here’s to the ones who dream.”

That’s the best part about this movie. It’s a love note to passionate people. The movie itself plays to people who are passionate about movies and cherish Singin’ in the Rain, West Side Story, An American in Paris, Casablanca. It plays to people who are passionate about music, mainly jazz. But really I think anyone who has a passion for anything gets a stirring in their heart when they see this movie. I’ve said before that I’m a hopeless romantic and let me tell you, as the girlfriend of an artist like the leads of this movie, the ending hit way too close to home. However, my poor broken heart was salved, by the fact that all dreams were realized and that’s the only way they could have been realized. I’ve figured out two interpretations of the ending of this movie thus far: 1)You can’t have it all. Sacrifices must be made. You don’t get multiple dreams, you have to decide. Love or “career satisfaction”. 2) It’s okay to choose your passion over love.

And that is just another regard in which this movie is so perfect. It seamlessly blends all elements of old and new. ‘Passion over love’ is a rather modern moral to end such a romantic and nostalgic movie on but it is so representative of this movie. The best example of this duality is at the end of this surreal, beautiful tap number, an iPhone rings, bringing both the characters and us back into the real world. Just another way this movie plays to the dreamers. It lets us live in the characters’ dreams again and again. God do I love this movie.

Another way the duality plays in is the fact that the leads are not overly skilled at singing or dancing. The friend I saw La La Land was held back by this fact. She’s a sucker for the oldie musicals, as am I, and she pointed out to me how Singin’ in the Rain has the great, superhuman feats of singing and dancing. For me, I enjoyed the fact that they learned to sing and dance for this movie. That in and of itself seems a superhuman feat to me. And it did bring in an element of the new that the focus was more on the acting.

Final thoughts:

Why don’t Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling do every movie together? They are so much each other’s equals and banter together so well.

I personally am not a fan of Emma Stone’s voice but it had to be her. It couldn’t have been anyone else. Which is so weird considering Emma Watson was originally cast in this part. It had to be Stone. No way around it.

Shoutout to Ryan Gosling’s piano skills.

Shoutout to Damien Chazelle. So many beautiful and interesting shots. *Cough cough* unbroken shot of Emma Stone talking to Ryan Gosling by the car. Another reason it had to be her. And Chazelle totally knew how to use her, just give her room to make her magic. Ugh so good. This was totally her movie.

Fun Fact

HO-lee crap. Not only did John Legend learn to play guitar for this movie, but RYAN GOSLING HAD NO PREVIOUS PIANO TRAINING. wut.

Best Part

I was on the verge of sobbing when Emma Stone took out saddle shoes and I realized a tap number was coming.

Runner-up: Emma Stone being Emma Stone after requesting “I Ran”. Every quirky girl’s aspiration.

Worst Part

Hard to pin down. I really wasn’t a fan of Emma’s voice, but like I said it had to be her.

I mean I was absolutely heartbroken watching Emma Stone walk into Seb’s and realize she wasn’t part of him realizing his dream but that wasn’t because the scene was bad.