La La Land is a 2016 American musical romantic drama film written and directed by Damien Chazelle, and starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as a musician, an aspiring actress who meet and fall in love in Los Angeles. The film’s title refers both to the city of Los Angeles and to the idiom for being out of touch with reality, reviews Rummana Ferdous Fagun.
Well, bringing back a trend can be a tough job, even more so when it is one of the most challenging genres in movies. La La Land tried to give musicals a grand comeback and they did just that. Though it’s not certain that there will be new musicals every other day, it was a revolutionary step indeed.
From the very beginning of the production of La La Land, it seemed like a farfetched idea but they triumphed on the musical numbers along with the dances. It somewhat justified all the hype it created. Still, only good music doesn’t make a good movie. When it came to other aspects of the movie like the storyline and character build-up, it fell short to some extent mostly because of the absurdity of it. Absurd not because of the impossibility of the events taking place, but the lack of depth and soul in the story.
If you look more closely you’d see that it is merely a series of first world problems and poor life choices. The statement seems bold but many critics would agree. To show you an example Rob Pogrebin, arts reporter at New York Times can be quoted. He says, ‘For die-hard musical fans like me La La Land disappoints. Yes, better new Hollywood musical than no new Hollywood musical. But the high hopes raised by the inventive opening number are dashed by the weak delivery of its stars.’
From the opening of the story moved from scene to scene with a swift pace. The movie moved along with the musical numbers. The original songs were beautiful but not all of them were as catchy. Still the main song ‘City of Stars’ resonated in hearts long after the movie ended.
Moving on to the actors: The heartthrob, Ryan Gosling bedazzled everyone with his good looks and charm but when it came to singing, opting for a professional singer would have been a better choice. The same goes for Emma Stone. Both of them did a great job of trying to sing and dance still they lacked the spontaneity it needed. But then again, they aren’t singers/dancers by profession, are they?
Looking back to the story: It’s about Sebastian, a struggling jazz pianist and Mia, an aspiring actress. As you’ve guessed Sebastian’s character is brought to life by Ryan Gosling and Mia’s by Emma Stone. Both of them struggling in their career and brought together by fate. They seem to cross each other’s path numerous times before they actually become friends. Basically, they are two people who are impulsive and focused on one thing only yet they don’t care deeply about anything at all. Something seemed missing throughout the whole movie which couldn’t be pinpointed that easily. It’s the one dimensional nature of the characters that become boring after a while.
One good thing about the movie is that it does not dwell on the past and rather embraces the present. Moulding the movie into a more modernised society the movie depicts the day to day life of western city dwellers and captures the essence of the busy city.
The inception of this musical germinates when Damien Chazelle was studying in Harvard. He started writing the screenplay in 2010 in collaboration with his classmate Justin Hurwitz. It was at first part of a university assignment and the main character was an aspiring jazz pianist in Boston. Later it was altered a lot, like the plot shifted from Boston to Los Angeles because LA is where people come to fulfil their dreams. Instead of romanticising the city they put forward the charm of the city through its traffic jams, skies and chaos.
Putting together a musical is not an easy task. Finally after a few hiccups it was released in the USA on December 9, 2016. The movie won many awards and prizes. To mention a few, it bagged 7 awards in the Golden Globes and 6 awards in the 89th Academy Awards.
After that it boomed and people all over the world started watching the movie. In Bangladesh alone it became the talk of the season. It’s a movie worth watching only because after many decades it brings back the essence of musicals. Now the important thing to see is, if La La Land will survive the test of time or will it be lost in the mist of time.