This review contains mild spoilers
We were wrong thinking that the romcom in La La Land as an enrichment, a supplement to the musical, since every song sung and every step of dance taken by the combustible pair are apparently driven by the fire of love. La La Land even takes the romance to a level which only a pair with compatible ideas can imagine.
It’s about love motivating each other with the support of lavish elements and so much nostalgia as well as respect to the contemporary musical. A musical piece it is, La La Land has its own introduction, verse, chorus, and bridge. It even has its own remix- sort of climax, to give an unforgettable tune to linger in the mind of watchers. La La Land is a candy, so dreamy, that our eyes don’t get bored watching the color interchange as well as the season changes. It relies its background on the city of stars of which every dream may live as long as anyone chase high for it.
It opens with Winter when the snow seems fair but Mia and Sebastian are in a withering situation instead. Emma Stone is Mia whose dream is to be a professional actress but continuously gets rejected in audition. Not so far, Ryan Gosling is Sebastian, already a pro jazz pianist but with the jazz itself dying. Only after Mia happens to see Sebastian play and listen to his beautiful but sad Mia & Sebastian’s Theme, she feels hope, and later love.
Then it comes Spring when Sebastian finally finds Mia intriguing during their tap dancing while singing A Lovely Night. Summer comes quick afterwards, giving a full room for the pair to date, sing, and dance, date, sing and dance until they finally realize that life goes on and their dreams are somehow left behind.
Obviously, the pair is crazy in love but their dreams are crazy to be pursued as well. Shortly, Sebastian goes after an offering of his old friend (John Legend) to join a pop jazz band called The Messengers. Despite his disapproval of the jazz style, however, with an urgency of career path, Sebastian is now a successful keyboardist, unconsciously giving Mia a sort of dismay.
Fall is the season in which leaves not only wither but also fall. So does both relationship finally get torn apart after finding both dreams no longer compatible. Intermittently leaving for the band tour, Mia steps up questioning Sebastian’s plan for his dream and their future. Unable to give a satisfying but a honest answer instead, Mia gets insulted, thus leaves Sebastian for good. Proven, both tracks seem similar but both chances never come crossed, bringing an inevitable threat to the relationship.
Stone teams up with Gosling for the 3rd time (after Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011) and Gangster Squad (2013)) and and their chemistry is so bubbling. The setup of La La Land’s cityscape is so beautiful that we, regardless of the fact we’re not dreamers, also find it a safe haven, a sanctuary of art. The romance plot is actually a stereotype but with the elements artistically managed to awaken our multi-sensory system. Adjusting with the season changes, every element, especially the song, is carefully crafted to match the mood, proving that Damien Chazelle’s (Whiplash) direction is articulate. But it the magical nuance Chazelle bringing into every stage of the development process, wins our heart the most, emphasizing that anyone with dream must live to live out his dream in any way possible.
Director: Damien Chazelle
Cast: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt, J.K Simmons
Duration: 128 mins