Incredible music and performances transport audiences to La La Land


Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, playing love interests Sebastian and Mia, discuss their differences as they try to reconcile their love. Despite the drama heavy plot, the movie found relief in its use of comedy and musicality.

Paul Verdirame, Contributing Writer

For a movie that has not yet had widespread release, La La Land is generating a great deal of press. It officially opened on Friday, Dec. 9 but has not yet been released in local theaters. Already, it has been nominated for seven prestigious Golden Globe awards for Best Picture, Actress, Actor, Director, Screenplay, Score and Song, and it has been selected for several other awards.

But what this makes well-worn, chasing-your-dream plot so notable? Is it the presence of its big-name co-stars, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling? Or maybe because it is a nostalgic musical that aims to lift viewers’ spirits by transporting the viewer back to Hollywood’s glamorous golden era? Perhaps it is because the film explores the timeless conflict between love and career.  Many critics say it is a combination of all three. Emma Stone plays Mia, an aspiring actress in Los Angeles, hence the title, La La Land, and Ryan Gosling plays the role of Sebastian, a struggling jazz musician.

“The movie appeals to me because of the nostalgic feel linked with the glamorous golden era.  I would recommend the movie to people, who, like me, love movies that have a historic feel” said junior Saige Gitlin.

As A.O. Scott of the New York Times observes, “Mia and Seb are throwbacks… but they are also citizens of the present.”

Also acknowledging the movie’s retro feel is Variety Magazine, which characterized La La Land as “the most audacious big-screen musical in a long time, and — irony of ironies — that’s because it’s the most traditional.”

The movie’s opening scene takes place on an L.A. freeway in which dozens of cars are stuck in traffic. One by one, the drivers – including Mia and Sebastian – leave their cars and engage in a liberating song and dance. From there, the movie tracks Mia and Sebastian’s parallel lives and dreams, ultimately bringing them together. Friction arises, however, when their fortunes take different courses.

“I wanted to see La La Land because of the love story between Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, who have such good chemistry.  They also played love interests in Crazy Stupid Love, one of my favorite movies” said junior Sarah Gottesman.

The resolution comes in the final sequence, which, according to A.O.Scott, is “a swirl of rapturous, heart-tugging music and ballet.” Other reviews are equally impressed with the film. The daring director, 31-year old Damien Chazelle, has created a “splashy, impassioned, shoot-the-moon” movie, according to Variety Magazine. And The Telegraph happily concludes: “It has its head in the stars, and for a little over two wonderstruck hours, it lifts you up there too.”