Modern Twist on a Musical – ‘La La Land’ Movie Review

la-la-land-poster

By: Ashley G’18 and Britney Y’18

Damien Chazelle’s La La Land follows a jazz pianist named Sebastian, played by Ryan Gosling and an aspiring actress named Mia, portrayed by Emma Stone. The movie takes place in modern day Los Angeles but also pays tribute to classic musicals such as Singing In the Rain and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.

When watching La La Land, expect the film to be filled with mellifluous tunes and a variety of dances, from tap dancing to ballroom dancing to modern dancing. Although the movie is mainly about two struggling artists trying to achieve their dream, it also incorporates a love story.

The film includes a variety of scenes that take place in some popular locations in LA. There is the Griffith’s Observatory, The Lighthouse Cafe in Hermosa Beach, the back-lot of the famous Hollywood Center Studios, and many more.

Our reactions to the two hour movie were along the same line. We both believe Chazelle successfully captured and displayed the emotions, trials and tribulations of a person in the arts industry. Being a creative artist exposes you to excessive rejection and embarrassment– especially if you’re constantly going to castings for films, TV shows, etc. Throughout the movie, a recurring theme is “rejection can really beat a person’s self esteem.” However, Chazelle’s movie also displays the idea that with an encouraging person by your side, nothing is impossible.


Britney’s Rating: ★★★★☆

Personally, I thought this movie was brilliant. However, it was a little confusing for me to follow in the beginning considering I did not know what the backstory of the movie was. Before watching it in theaters, I expected it to be the usual boy meets girl, girl meets boys, they fall in love, the end. To my surprise, Chazelle did a wonderful job creating a unique storyline for the movie to engage his audience. Furthermore, the soundtrack to the film is entirely original. If you’re a music geek like me and you play an instrument, it’s almost impossible not to become obsessed with the songs. In fact, I looked up the music sheets of the soundtrack so I can play the music myself. Here’s a fun fact, Ryan Gosling learned piano in 3 months just to play his role in the movie!

Ashley’s Rating: ★★★★★

Since the day I watched the first trailer, I had been eagerly awaiting the premiere of this film. The idea of an original jazz musical with a modern twist on classics drew me in, and I had a feeling that it would have a lasting impression in one way or another. Just as I anticipated, the film proved to be original, inspiring, magical, and genuine. Chazelle brought out the best of the old and new in a way that complimented the other. I appreciate and admire the creative decisions that went into the film, from the camera directions, to the choreography of the dance numbers and the one shot scenes. In addition, the soundtrack includes an eclectic range of songs composed by Justin Hurwitz, with upbeat and tuneful scores, piano solos, as well as graceful symphonies.It also showcases meaningful lyrics and the smooth sound of the double bass and the vibrant trumpet. With that being said, I encourage anyone with even the slightest bit of interest to watch it. After all, it won all seven of the categories it was nominated for in the Golden Globes!

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