La La Land – Review

I’ve seen this movie twice now and I had more fun with it during the second viewing. 

Damien Chazelle surprised everyone when he turned his short film into a motion picture with ‘Whiplash’ and bagged several Oscars. 

This movie follows the struggle that Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone’s characters go through to achieve their dreams. It’s a fault simple plot.

Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), is a pianist who wants to keep Jazz alive but can only manage to get jobs where he’s told to play jingle bells. 

Mia (Emma Stone), is a struggling actress who has been waiting too long for someone to recognize the talent in her.

These two form a relationship where they decide to support each other in the process of pursuing their dreams. 

It’s safe to say that almost every Bollywood film is a musical. They all feature highly choreographed dance sequences and that’s why this movie wasn’t really hard to sit through. If you’ve watched a YRF production in its entirety, this should be a cakewalk. 

Apart from the opening sequence, all the other dance sequences move the story forward and have purpose. All these sequences are shot to perfection especially the sequence where Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone dance as the sun sets behind them over Los Angeles. You can’t help but wonder how many takes it took for them to get to the one they used in the final cut. 

You can see that there was an immense amount of work put into the making of this film. The long takes used in this film could only be achieved as a result of countless hours of practice by the cast and crew. 

The music in the film is great. Justin Hurwitz has yet again composed a memorable movie soundtrack and it fits really well with the film. 

It’s a great film which resonates with its audience and is definitely worth watching.
Grade: A

Spoilers Ahead. If you haven’t seen the movie read no further. You have been warned. 

The Ending

Why did Damien Chazelle choose to go with an ending which had the potential to Polarize audiences? He chose to tell this story in a way which makes puts it in the same category as the High School Musical movies but chose to end it in a way which doesn’t line up with the rest of the movie. 

After Mia gives her audition, the movie flashes forward to five years later. Mia is now a successful actress. She has a husband and a child and is living the life she always wanted. Sebastian is still living a life which is devoid of Fame or glamour and is on his own. 

One night Mia decides to cancel her plans and spend some quality time with her husband. After dinner, they come across the bar which Sebastian is the owner of. They see each other and he plays her the song that he was playing when they first met. 

What follows is an extended sequence which shows an alternate reality. It shows what could’ve been if they had decided to go to Paris together. Sebastian would’ve been in the place where Mia’s husband is and they would’ve been happy together. Why choose to show this at all if it’s nothing close to what actually happened?

Through this sequence, the director reminds us that the movie wasn’t about their relationship but the pursuit of their dreams. Sebastian always wanted to open a Jazz Club and Mia wanted to be a successful actress. Both of them have achieved their dreams and are now finally content. It is implied that although they parted ways, they developed a mutual respect for one another as both of them were where they always wanted to be at the end of the film. 

It’s nice to see that the director didn’t depart from what the main idea of the film which revolved around doing what you truly love and want to. 


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