By Conor Gilroy
Gather your friends, grab your popcorn and take your seats for this award season’s best film. Heralded by movie critics as one of the best movie experiences of 2016, Damien Chazelle’s romantic-comedy musical La La Land is truly deserving of all the buzz.
Starring Emma Stone, Hollywood’s formerly designated girl-next-door, and Ryan Gosling, everyone’s favorite mysterious yet lovable Hollywood hunk, La La Land is this duo’s third romantic on-screen pairing. With the combined forces of Chazelle, Stone, Gosling and composer Justin Hurwitz, La La Land breaks through the usual boundaries of romance films and achieves cinematic triumph.
With an opening scene that I predict will become a staple in movie-musical history, La La Land embraces the audience with the vibrant “Another Day Of Sun,” which sets up an old Hollywood theme that the movie has become known for. Other catchy and powerful songs from the movie include “Someone In The Crowd,” “A Lovely Night,” “City Of Stars,” “Start A Fire” (featuring John Legend) and “Audition (The Fools Who Dream).”
Though the music adds an extra layer of excitement to the plot and leaves the audience tapping their feet and humming up until the moment they leave the theater, the audience truly falls in love with La La Land when they meet Mia Dolan and Sebastian “Seb” Wilder. The two characters successfully represent the turmoil and rejection that many young hopeful artists experience upon arriving in Los Angeles.
Mia, a barista and struggling actress from Boulder City, Nevada, is the perfect antithesis of Hollywood superficiality. Repulsed by the fakeness of her Hollywood peers, Mia leaves a party in the Hills one night and serendipitously meets Sebastian, a pianist with a love for jazz and a dream of opening a jazz club.
The progression of Mia and Sebastian’s romance throughout the film that has left critics and audiences swooning. The turning point of the film comes when both Mia and Sebastian face struggles in balancing their love for each other and their career ambitions. A relationship like Mia and Sebastian’s, however, is one that an audience becomes fully invested in and roots for.
La La Land has received criticism for falling into the white savior narrative, with Gosling’s character, Sebastian, being the culprit. Sebastian sets out to save jazz, a historically African American music genre, hoping that suddenly people will listen to jazz now that he is playing it. Hopefully, future movies will be aware of this issue and look to prevent it moving forward.
The remarkable music, stunning visuals and beautiful narrative offered in La La Land are sure to bring success to the team behind the movie on Oscar night. With a record-breaking seven Golden Globes already under its belt and a whopping 14 Oscar nominations, La La Land has already cemented itself in Hollywood history.