La La Land is a heartbreakingly perfect musical number that is the ideal start to your 2017 cinematic journey. With possibly the best traffic jam sequence in film history; not to mention the insanely catchy song, from the first note this will have you tapping your toes and bopping your head whilst trying with all your might not to jump out of seat and twirl around the theatre. From the incredibly talented mind of Whiplash director Damien Chazelle treats us to a touchingly tragic tale of romance.
Luckily, this is isn’t the same old, repetitive tale of love set in the familiar city of LA. Here, we are utterly transported to a different universe; placed into a world not that dissimilar to our own but one that twinkles with every movement. Equally shining in the limelight are our two main characters, Mia (Stone) and Sebastian (Gosling). Mia, a struggling actress, is drawn to the sound of brogue wearing, jazz enthusiast Sebastian’s skilful piano playing after feeling down due to another routine audition. As Sebastian chugs away playing humdrum pieces in a restaurant and promptly gets fired after struggling to keep his creative tendencies under wraps, Mia can’t help but be impressed. Although after getting barged out the way by a sulky Seb, she bites her tongue and goes about her evening. Predictably so, with an air of tingling curiosity the two meet again, hitting it off in an insanely adorable way with the aid of song and dance.
Despite La La Land focusing on the theme of love, there is a much bigger message to be explored here. Both characters struggle in their chosen professions and ultimately settle for something less than they expected, even if they are actually getting paid a decent wage for it. Mia and Sebastian’s initial picture-perfect relationship falters as we delve into the somewhat tabooed subject of going to Hollywood and making it as a star – passion and the love of the art gets tangled with just making a living. A profound note that’s for sure, albeit on the flip side this spectacular show; because that’s exactly what this is – a heart fluttering, stunning production is precisely what the big screen is all about. Vintage and retro traits illustrate everything we have lost that modern life has interfered with and it’s when a song or a piece of music gets interrupted by a phone ringing or a fire alarm going off we realise just how much has got misconstrued in today’s society.
La La Land presents itself as a diamond amongst its genre with a refreshing difference. Warm and fuzzy feelings emerge that appeal to those with artistic affinities and lock on to big dreams that just for a second, like they do for Mia and Sebastian seem as though they may come true. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, bring an abundance of charisma and chemistry to their hilariously heart-rending relationship. Not only did they give out of this world performances, Gosling was reported to have thrown himself into piano lessons and to much of all our surprises he really is playing that piano.
Fall deeply in love with Los Angeles. Be consumed by its magic and stardom, but don’t forget its harsh realities and not so idyllic happenings. This refreshingly different, romanticised feature will let you lose your head in the clouds and more importantly laugh your socks off.
If musicals aren’t your thing, then too bad – you are certainly missing out with this one. Perhaps try something new – you won’t be disappointed.