I have been looking forward to this movie for quite some time. Sorry, no report card this time. I wanted to compose my thoughts a little differently. Finally, I had a chance to see this movie! While I was Los Angeles last week for my interview, I saw signs and billboards everywhere for La La Land. It was strange, knowing I was in the exact same place this film is centered in. Ironically enough, this film revolves around the entertainment industry and the dreams and heartbreak we have while trying to be a part of it.
I went to a Monday matinee and while not full, there was a decent crowd in the theater. At the conclusion of the film, the audience clapped and I heard excited whispers. I haven’t experienced that in a long time. The buzz was true, and the long wait for this film was worth it. And it was timely. Oh so timely.
Mia (Emma Stone) is an aspiring actress waiting for her big break. Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) is a passionate Jazz musician. Both are in Los Angeles to make their dreams come true. Through a twist of fate, Seb and Mia keep running into each other, and begin a romance. Seb encourages Mia to follow her dreams of becoming an actress. He inspires her to quit waiting for the right person or the right audition for her break. Mia puts her writing skills to work and creates a one-woman show. Meanwhile, Seb is looking to open his own Jazz spot in order to keep the genre of music alive, but he’s lured by the success of an old colleague’s band. Intertwined with the series of events are showstopping musical numbers, my favorite being “City of Stars”, which has a couple reprises throughout the film.
I’m not a huge fan of musicals, but I adored this one. I love how La La Land has brought some magic back to the city of Los Angeles and to film in general. It is one of those rare films that reminds people why they love the movies- and Los Angeles in the first place. La La Land showcases many familiar locations such as Griffith Observatory (my favorite scenes), the Hermosa Beach Pier, Angel’s Flight, the Rialto Theater, and Vine Street. The film also tips its hat to the Hollywood films of yesteryear- films such as Rebel Without a Cause. Although La La Land is set in modern times, it has a retro feel to it. I thought back to the golden age of cinema in the late 30’s and early 40’s. In times of economic hardship and political turmoil, the movies are bigger. We’re in a tumultuous time in our history, and indeed the movies are larger than life.
I don’t know if it is because of what I have been going through lately but I FELT this film. I didn’t watch it, I experienced it. I cried at some parts. I laughed at others. I went through a whirlwind of emotion. La La Land is about love, but it is also following your dreams too, and overcoming. After I left the theater, I was in paradise and I felt inspired. I was reminded why I began this journey. And to keep going.
Do take the time to see La La Land. You’ll love it.
ADRIANA THE CINEMA SOLOIST