“City of stars, just one thing everybody wants. There in the bars, and through the smokescreen of the crowded restaurants. It's love, yes all we’re looking for is love, from someone else.”
La la land is an enchanting and heartbreaking film, following the lives of Mia (Emma Stone), a young, penniless, aspiring actress; and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a broke, passionate, ambitious jazz pianist. The pair meet in a difficult time in their lives. Mia has just finished yet another disheartening audition, in which she’s ignored by the casting directors again. Feeling discouraged, she walks out to her car and finds it towed. Not knowing what to do, she starts on foot through Los Angeles, the “City of Stars,” back to her apartment. On the way, she hears a lovely piano tune drifting out of a nearby restaurant, and decides to go inside. It is there she meets Sebastian, who, incidentally, has just gotten fired due to lack of creative conformity.
Mia approaches Sebastian, telling him she really liked the way that he played. He completely brushes her off and storms out, too wrapped up in his own fury to notice her. Later in the film, they meet again at an 80’s party, where they are both rubbing elbows with the dull hope of boosting their careers. It is within this poolside party scene where their relationship beings. The rest of the movie continues back and forth between the perspectives of both people, and you see both sides of their relationship.
As they become more successful in their aspirations and their dreams begin to take flight, their relationship starts to deteriorate. It’s such a raw portrayal of heartbreak, and many who have been through it may tear up a bit. It appeals strongly and effectively to the audience's emotions since it’s so relatable and realistic. People often change, miss, and regret the chances they don’t take. There comes a person at least once in your lifetime that changes you forever. They are put into your life to teach you things,and will have such an impact on you, for better or for worse, that they will have a place in your heart. Sometimes we get caught up in our lives, and maybe even a little bit selfish, and we lose sight of how special that person is. If we neglect them, and let them slip away, we won’t notice until it’s too late, and always wonder what might have been. What might have been if you didn’t let them get away, or if you had taken that chance that you were too afraid to take. The characters were, in fact, meant to cross paths. They both pushed each other to dream when things seemed hopeless. They inspired each other. They never stopped loving each other, but they let each other go. In the end we see the different stories of their lives, and how they would have turned out differently if they had ended up together. It is magical, and beautifully done, and it’s the ending we want...but didn’t get. In that sense,the filmmakers gave us a choice in how it ended, and in that, they gave us hope.
La la Land is awash with homages to The Golden Age of Hollywood Musicals. The beginning opens with people getting out of their cars while stuck in LA traffic to do a musical number. This is due to the personalities of the two main characters, and has a profound impact on the way the movie was filmed. Mia works at Warner Brothers Studios as a Barista, and often mentions Old Hollywood stars that she looks up to in all their glamour, such as Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in “Casablanca”. Sebastian introduces jazz to Mia and describes famous jazz legends, such as Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk. The clothes that Mia and Sebastian wear have an oldies style to them, and their apartments are adorned with things like old posters and records. The couples also participate in lavish tap dance numbers,and romantic waltz's, such as those performed in the MGM films of the 1940’s-1960’s. There are bright colors, extravagant sets, and even singing to top it all off. This is a must see for fans of classic, Broadway-esq films.
“It gave me a sense of hope that I haven't felt in a long time. It brought a little magic back into my life since graduating high school. I think graduating was sad for me, even though it gave me seemingly endless freedom and options. I felt lost, and without motivation for the past seven months. Even though I'm not completely back to normal, which I may never be, the movie woke me up from my mundane state of living, of going along with the crowd, following rules, and working with no end in sight. I realized that I need to find myself and stop wasting time, being something that everyone else wants me to be.” ~Rebekah O.
“At first when I watched the ending of the movie, I was so upset. All I wanted was Mia and Sebastian to end up together. I think everyone wanted that. But they both had different dreams and loved each other. It just shows you that your dreams aren't always what they seem to be. In the end I think they were perfect for each other in every sense of the word, but they got the timing wrong. They both achieved their dreams, and that was what the movie was about in the long run. Two starving artists trying to reach the stars.” ~Nicole
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