La La Land is Damien Chazelle’s declaration of love to jazz, romance and drama. A tale of love, dreams and enjoying music, set in Los Angeles, the musical film portrays the development of a romantic relationship between Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling). Mia is a struggling actress working as a barista in an on-studio coffee shop, Sebastian is a struggling jazz pianist who is wasting his talent playing Christmas carols at a local restaurant that doesn’t appreciate him, and the two fall helplessly in love while overlooking L.A. at dawn. Sounds cheesy? It is!
Not only can the audience follow the clichéd yet heart-warming moments of Mia and Sebastian’s romantic relationship, but also their very own struggle to succeed in their respective careers and, ultimately, to fulfill their dreams. The melancholy comes over the viewer when they struggle to balance their love for each other and their passion for realizing their dreams.
The story as such has little depth and complexity, but it is Gosling’s and Stone’s acting performances that make their characters nuanced and wonderful. The most boring, predictable and exciting part of the film is Mia’s character: her thin and ordinary personality is the platonic ideal of a young actress who wants to be “something” in Hollywood, but at the same time she sings an ode to every creative person, who has ever been struggling to be accepted.
Stone’s remarkable performance lets the viewer experience Mia’s emotional side and depth. The film is colorful, light yet melancholic, and sweet. If you got nothing more exciting to do, you might as well go to the cinema and watch La La Land. It did, after all, win seven Golden Globes, including best musical or comedy film.
La La Land premieres in cinemas January 13.