By Zachary Wright
Set in the hills of Hollywood, “La La Land” is a musical wonder that deserves to be put in its own category. The story takes its own take on a cliché love story where the characters must choose between the one they love or the dream they want to follow; A question everyone has asked themselves at one point or another. Director Damien Chazelle, best known for writing the movies “Whiplash” and “10 Cloverfield Lane” manages to tie in the simplistic life and romance of the 1940s’ and ‘50s with the current time now. The opening sequence contrasted to the ending is like day and night; but don’t worry about that, the movie takes you along the way as these characters’ lives unfold.
However, “La La Land” does fall short on interesting, unique characters. Emma Stone plays Mia, a coffee shop cashier who is an aspiring actress while Ryan Gosling plays an awkward, struggling but passionate jazz musician named Sebastian. The two characters do become interesting as the story progresses and you find yourself rooting for them both. Chazelle does a good job of inviting you into their personal lives, making the two relatable. The dancing sequences and singing kind of fall short compared to other notorious musical films as Stone’s voice sounded rather weak and Gosling’s singing sounded a bit on the awkward side. Chazelle could perhaps delayed filming until their voices sounded more pleasing or casted different actors all together.
This is not to say it was a complete failure. The movie was overall entertaining and worth the time. Despite some shortcomings, Gosling and Stone do perform their roles very well which did elevate the film. The two actors also have good chemistry together as they run around the beautifully designed sets that represent modern-day Los Angeles. The filming itself is done well with gorgeous sunsets, nice transitions, and intimate camera angles of faces that add a certain depth of emotion to the film. All in all, the film was very enjoyable and surprising towards the end. Mia and Sebastian follow their dreams as they must contend with life and opportunities along the way. “La La Land” is a film worth the watch and worth some of the praise it gets as a musical if you can overcome some of the things that fall on a sour note.