Written and directed by Damien Chazelle, La La Land tells the story of Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress, and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a dedicated jazz musician, who are struggling to make ends meet in a city known for crushing hopes and breaking hearts. While navigating their careers in Los Angeles, the two fall in love while attempting to reconcile their aspirations for the future.
It’s rare that I get to sit down with my husband and watch a film with him these days. Either he falls asleep early or we both sit on our phone and/or doing work so it doesn’t really count. But as we watched La La Land together, I looked over at him and realised that neither of us took our eyes off the screen for even a minute.
La La Land was the last film I got to see at the cinema before my little boy was born. He actually came 4 weeks early, the morning after seeing this the night before. He obviously loved it so much that he wanted to come into the world early.
With every watch of this film, I’m always irritated by a few things (which I will go into in a minute), but the final scene gets me every time. As I wonder about whether I really loved this film or not, the tears start to pour down my face and I quickly realise that yes, I really did.
It gets me every time. I find myself unable to move for a few minutes as I think, “But are they happy?” Okay, so they smiled at each other. But wouldn’t they be happy together? So what if that means that Seb has to settle for a smaller dream. Wouldn’t he think that it was worth it in hindsight?
I love that this film makes me think about this with every watch.
What I love most of all is the score. It has such a distinguishable score that even a few seconds of a song would make you connect the music to this film. More instrumental than musical, Damien Chazelle has created some beautiful melodies as his love for Jazz radiates throughout his masterpiece.
Alongside the amazing performances from Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, as well as their beautiful vocals and sharp dance moves, La La Land is also a love letter to old musicals and it’s lovely to see all of the references and idolisations.
Like I said, there are a few things that briefly get in the way of all this film’s charm and romance for me, and I guess that’s the scenes with the lack of romance, when real-life hits hard and takes a different turn. But then, I’m always disappointed when a love story gets interrupted, and it turns out that my favourite films are actually all about heartbreak rather than true love.
For me, La La Land will always be a film that I adore. It is powerful storytelling at its best, combined with beautifully orchestrated music and songs, and characters who are difficult to forget.