Movie of the Month: La La Land

I am OBSESSED with this movie. I saw it on New Year’s Day (technically because I went to a midnight showing) and I loved everything about it (except the ending, but I’ll get to that later). It was romantic, it was magical, it was visually gorgeous, and it was a good time to watch. This movie is a musical rom-com starring Emma Stone (as Mia) and Ryan Gosling (as Sebastian) and it’s about a year in the life of two artists who fall in love in Los Angeles.

Visually, this music was BEAUTIFUL. The colours alone are perfect – the dark, rich blues and purples of the backgrounds to the brighter more vibrant yellows and pinks of Mia’s dresses to the sharp whites and blacks of Sebastian’s suits. The boldness of the colour really spoke to me and almost idealized LA like “yes, this is what LA is supposed to look and feel like” even if it is slightly exaggerated. The cinematography of this film was also really pretty. It was soft and bright and warm and romantic which I think really brought out the best qualities of the film. Every scene flowed so smoothly together it was like the transitions were invisible – except for at the obvious breaks between seasons. One of my favourite parts of the movie was the planetarium scene where Mia and Sebastian start dancing around the room but then it so seamlessly and magically shifts to two silhouetted figures dancing among the stars. It was the visuals of this movie that made it so magical and mesmerizing.

The music in this movie was also magical. When you have a movie musical that is half-focused on jazz, it’s impossible to not have great music. Justin Paul and Benj Pasek did the lyrics and Justin Hurwitz did the score. The score was beautiful. It was clearly grounded in jazz as per director Damien Chazelle’s intentions, but it is nothing like stereotypical jazz music. It was light and fun (as jazz tends to be) but not overwhelmingly “jazzy.” The lyrics by Pasek and Paul SPOKE TO MY SOUL. I sobbed my way though “The Fools Who Dream” because it’s been a long time since I’ve related so much to a song. The songs just added so much to the story and to Mia and Sebastian’s relationship. I find that in this movie, the quote “When words fail, music speaks,” fits in so well because some of the things said in the songs, just wouldn’t have the same effect if they were just spoken.

In the end, this movie restored my faith in the power of the arts. It had everything – brilliant acting from Stone and Gosling, beautiful music, a great story, very pretty cinematography, and of course a little bit of tap dancing. The arts are meant to offer hope and nostalgia and happiness and that’s exactly what this movie does. While the arts and entertainment industry are damn near impossible to get into, La La Land reminded me that reality isn’t perfect but that shouldn’t stop you from dreaming.

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