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Review: "La La Land"

by Kayla Green - Staff Writer
Tue, Feb 7th 2017 11:25 pm

 "Here's to the ones who dream, foolish as they may seem." 

These are just some of the inspiring words within Damien Chazelle's "La La Land" that make the film as wonderful as it is.

"La La Land" tells the story of two aspiring artist's struggling to make it in Hollywood and through everything they encounter along the way. The first, aspiring actress Mia, played by Emma Stone, is a resilient woman who goes to audition after audition, doing anything and everything it takes to land herself a breakout role. The second, jazz pianist Sebastian, played by Ryan Gosling, is trying to play his jazz music in a world that doesn't appreciate the genre anymore. Running into each other one night at a party, they try to navigate the world of Hollywood together, falling in love in the process. However, this isn't another love story with a few songs thrown in. "La La Land" explores human emotions and vulnerability in the most raw way possible, while also weaving in relevant singing, dancing and a breathtaking score by Justin Hurwitz underneath it all. The love story isn't all sunshine and rainbows; it's hard, it's emotional and it has its serious downfalls. In so many words, it's realistic. I have a deep appreciation for films that depict life, people and relationships accurately and this movie impressed me on all counts.

Although this film was extremely down-to-Earth, it still manages to maintain its charm and inspiration. It brings its audience through the rollercoaster that is show business and although it can be painful, discouraging and difficult at times, it can also be magical. 

For every 10 failures Mia and Sebastian face, they gain one success, but when that one success happens, it is the sweetest feeling ever. Something strikingly different about this film is its two-person cast. Many movies may have two leading actors and then several supporting actors, but "La La Land" actually stands on only two characters total, with the exception of John Legend's very minor role as Sebastian's old jazz friend. Stone and Gosling really stepped up to the plate; in fact, they surpassed it. The actors hold their own while still maintaining phenomenal chemistry with the other. 

Another thing that stands out about this movie is the modest musical talent of Stone and Gosling, both of whom aren't traditionally singers. It is this detail that makes this film even more charming. Of course, we all love to go see a musical and hear those powerhouse vocals, but at the same time it is humbling to hear people who can sing but are more like you and I with their talent level. This was a huge risk to take and it did face some backlash from critics who expected powerhouse vocals, but the average person likely found it as endearing as I did.

If you love musicals, inspiring movies, staring at Ryan Gosling or Emma Stone for two hours, or simply just downright good cinema, go see this movie while it is still in theaters. You will not be disappointed.