Behind the Viners and wannabes of Los Angeles is the biggest pastime: entertainment. In the film, La La Land, the storyline centers between two struggling artists, Mia, an aspiring actress and Sebastian, a passionate pianist stuck in the classics. However, these two find ease in the struggle through love. Yes, they both fall in love but it’s not the kinds of mushy romance that comes from Nicholas Sparks novel (nothing against Nicholas Sparks). It’s redundant to say it’s the best movie of 2016 because the last 4 months of 2016 had great films but this film exceeded my expectations.
The production of this film doesn’t go unnoticed or wasted. I’m talking about the set design, costumes, music, etc. because essentially the director, Damien Chazelle, utilizes it all in order to create a powerhouse of a film. Let me talk about this kid Damien Chazelle, he is a 31 year old director whose credited for his film Whiplash (2014) and more. I call him a kid because 35 and under is relatively young for a successful Hollywood director/screenwriter but something I admire about his filmmaking is his pureness. Every shot in La La Land is made with love, it’s made with his heart on his sleeve, and it’s made optimism because Chazelle loves his job and it doesn’t go unnoticed; from the very first scene of dancers and singers on an LA highway ramp, you feel the love of film in every sound, dance move, lyric, and shot. What I was most fascinated by was the music of the film, it was inspired by classic Hollywood musicals in which you really can hear through the trumpets of “Another Day of Sun” and “Someone in the Crowd” but the film doesn’t dwell on the classic Hollywood films which is proven in “City of Stars” where the film takes you into realism. “City of Stars” helps the storyline go forward in which it tells the honest and tragic story of struggling artists in LA which I understand because you will never hear a story of someone having their dreams come true over night. However, the film isn’t so much cynicism because it’s a fun film that any audience member can enjoy.
If you plan on watching the film and want to avoid spoilers: STOP READING NOW.
The film ends with Mia and Sebastian go their separate ways and break up but eventually both their dreams come true. Yes, they didn’t have the happy ending the audience wanted but they got the happy ending that audience is familiar with. The ending was realistic because it reveals that dreams come true overnight but they take time, patience, and some hurting, too. And you can’t blame Chazelle for that due to the fact that this was one of the several times that the film doesn’t resemble those classic Hollywood films (not that I’m complaining). The realism is something I loved about the film because Hollywood is the Goliath of entertainment and it’s a VIP club for those lucky enough to become successful and Stone and Gosling portray that struggle impeccably that you forget that they probably have some bills to pay.
La La Land has done so well in this past awards season that it’s doing better than Whiplash because this film is special. Maybe it’s been dominating award season along with Moonlight because it’s about the industry, it’s about something voters can relate to and sympathize with. It’s a special film in which it exhibits the harsh reality of becoming the person you want to be which is probably why audiences fall in love with the film so easily due to the fact that we all share that end goal.