La La Land


The fourteen-time Oscar nominated movie La La Land is an enchanting piece that speaks directly to your heart and awakens your soul.

As I sat in the middle of the theatre, staring into Emma Stone’s big, beautiful eyes, I felt a strong connection to this film. It spoke to self-belief; it spoke to my dreams. It reminded me not to push my true purpose to the back of the bus. It reminded me that love persists and pursues and encourages us to take that leap of faith towards our deepest ambitions.

I give credit to the opening scene for setting my expectations high. The impressively choreographed dance number on the freeway, set to “Another Day of Sun,” took me to a place of complete openness.

Writer-director Damien Chazelle has undoubtedly created a breathtaking musical masterpiece with this one. The exquisite trills and tremolos of the piano, along with the staggering notes of the saxophone and instrumental elegance of the orchestra, provide an unforgettable backdrop to this incredible work of art.

The tracks “City of Stars,” “Someone in the Crowd,” and “Mia & Sebastian’s Theme” are bound to leave the deepest impressions on viewers, with both Ryan Gosling’s skills on the piano and Emma Stone’s gorgeous vocal tone proving to be stunning.  

There are three weighty characters in this movie – Sebastian, a piano-playing jazz traditionalist played by Ryan Gosling; Mia, an alluringly authentic aspiring actress played by Emma Stone; and the city of Los Angeles.  

Sebastian (Seb) is passionately focussed on achieving his dream of opening a jazz club one day, and he encourages Mia to chase her dream with the same intensity: “This is the dream. It’s conflict and it’s compromise, and it’s very, very exciting!” 

As Mia and Sebastian dance their way through the seasons of their love affair, the pursuit of their creative passions puts a strain on their relationship – they are so deeply in love, yet so indebted to their dreams.

As much as this film inspired me, it also broke my heart. It encouraged me to feel vulnerable, and it made me believe – believe in devotion and believe in purpose. It sought to make me realize that sometimes love, timing, and life do not always align, and, sometimes, our idealistic intentions for the future do not pan out. This element of the film was both endearing and disheartening.

As I sat in the middle of that theatre, I refused to submit to the notion that we cannot achieve our hopes in both love and in life. The funny thing is, though, we don’t always get our way with everything, do we? And, sometimes, we realize we’ve been living in la-la land after all.  

This movie is elegant and playful, and, if you watch it right, you just might end up walking out of the theatre speechless. Damien Chazelle has managed to inject passion into every nook and cranny of his work, and, to quote his character Mia, “People love what other people are passionate about.”

Casey