Freelancer and aspiring journalist from Adelaide. Visual Arts graduate & current journalism student. Fashion, lifestyle, entertainment, art & food. I also write for The Adelaidian // theadelaidian.net/author/georgina-tselekidis
Published December 14th 2016
A film dedicated to the dreamers
A film for the dreamers, La La Land is a refreshing take on what it means to make it in the 'City of Stars'. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone star in this whimsical romantic comedy-drama film, fueled by an irresistible soundtrack of upbeat jazzy tunes and soft melodies.
Set in LA, La La Land is underpinned by a simple plot about a musician and an aspiring actress who meet and fall in love in Los Angeles. But, it's not just your average romance film, as director Damien Chazelle constructs a simple context into a magical musical with a comedic touch that instantly takes the viewer along the characters' dreamy and spectacular journey, which is highly stylized and full of colour. Ryan Gosling as Sebastian is a passionate jazz musician, obsessed with the classic and original music genre, hoping to sometime soon open his own jazz bar called Chicken on a Stick. Emma Stone as Mia is an aspiring actress who, after several failed auditions, decides to write her own play and present it at one of LA's most reputable theatre companies.
As they push to succeed in their desired fields, they begin to drift apart, although their love is unparalleled and all-consuming. In the meantime, the film is creatively put together by song and tap dance, which at first may startle those who are not the musical type. But it doesn't take long to become immersed in the music and unfolding story that is enthralling to watch. In saying that, there is something more romantic about musicals: perhaps it's this notion that some great loves can't be put into words, but only through song. It's possible to convey the intense emotive connections that the characters feel, and with this we see Mia and Sebastian fall in love through music and dance. Likewise, Broadway possesses a charming quality, and La La Land successfully captures this vivacious vibe from beginning to end.
Gosling and Stone also share an incredible chemistry that many may recognise from their collaboration in Crazy, Stupid, Love. Their witty personas meld so well with one another, making them even more fascinating to watch. Director Damien Chazelle captivates us with a poetic telling of two dreamers who not only fall in love, but push each other to achieve their ultimate dream. Another intriguing aspect of the film is the ending, which isn't such a fairy tale after all, but more so a realistic interpretation of what life is like for any aspiring creative. Do we always really end up with the love of our life? The bubble bursts when we are confronted with the fact that not all things end as we would like.
Cinematographer Linus Sandgren helps to create a magical flair, with exciting film techniques that transport us to their romantic set in LA. Sunset hues of purple and pink enhance Mia and Sebastian's affectionate connection as they share their first dance. Sandgren uses lighting as a way to highlight character emotion, whilst capturing the beauty of LA's illuminating landscape and old-world charm. The combination of fantasy and reality is also explored throughout the film, as scenes depict real life scenarios and features, like downtown, Mia's job at a cafe, and the many well-known buildings in LA such as Griffith Observatory.
Overall, La La Land reminds us that films still have the power to take us somewhere else, to ignite that inner spark that is waiting to be lit. In a contemporary society that can be stark, lonely, harsh, and mundane, where we are told that dreams don't always come true, or that a dream is too big or too wild, La La Land defies the norms and allows us to see the magic that lies within us and around us.