|La La Land Poster (2017)|
The moment I saw the trailer, I knew this was something I couldn't miss as I am a fan of old Fred Astaire movies. This movie didn't at all disappoint.
For those unfamiliar with Fred Astaire, you can start by watching "The Band Wagon" or if you are an Audrey Hepburn fan, you can watch "Funny Face." While not an Astaire film, I also recommend Gene Kelly's "Singing in the Rain."
Writing this review will probably just parrot what a lot of people have already said about it, but I can't help but want to pursue it anyway to show my appreciation for the writing and work done.
Before going to the theatre, I basically already knew what to expect. I knew there would be singing and random dancing but with a story that made those old movies survive the test of time.
After watching it, it is probably safe to say that this is probably one of the best romance movies that I have seen in a very long while. It was lighthearted at the right time but it also knew when to take itself seriously.
|Mia leaving after an unsuccessful audition.|
Mia, an actress working as a barista with both beauty and talent, faces every audition and determined to give her best efforts only to meet with disappointments from unfair and biased casting. Her room mates wanted to cheer her up, so they talked her into going with them to a party. Once there, it wasn't enough to changer her mood so she left. Unfortunately, her car got towed so she ended up walking. On her way home, she found herself in a restaurant where she meets our story's musician, Sebastian.
|Sebastian is fired after not following|
the Management's setlists.
The restaurant he was working the night he met Mia was no different. As it was the holidays, he was forced by the management to only play Christmas songs. Unhappy that his talent was so unappreciated, he began improvising --- much to the disapproval of the management. He was promptly fired.
Mia was drawn to Sebastian's music and had attempted to talk to him, but in rage Sebastian just ignored her and left. The two met again later at another party. This time, he was playing keyboards for the band performing at the party. Wanting to get even with him for ignoring her the time at the restaurant, sh requested a song that he would dislike playing as a "serious" musician.
|Mia and Sebastian watch a movie at the theatre.|
She learns of his dreams of starting his own club and he learns of her passion for acting. She also revealed another tidbit. Mia wasn't fond of Jazz.
|Sebastian introduces Mia to the Jazz he is passionate about.|
One day, Sebastian overhears Mia talking to her mother as she assured her that he was working towards his dream. This made Sebastian guilty of his circumstances and accepted an offer from his acquaintance to join his band, The Messengers. Despite hating the Jazz and pop hybrid in the band's music, he decided to bear with it as it gave him the stability he needed. Around this time, Mia was losing hope that she would ever become an actress. Sebastian suggested that she created her own play which she attempted to do so.
|Sebastian playing piano for the Messengers.|
They day Mia was to present her play, Sebastian had forgotten about their band's photoshoot and missed her performance. This broke her heart. Not only did her boyfriend not come to support her, she had to deal with the terrible criticism on her own. When he did finally arrive, she had finally had enough. She left that night and returned to her home in Nevada,
|Sebastian goes to Mia's home in Nevada.|
He returned the next morning, not finding her on the porch he was about to drive away. She appeared a few seconds later ---- with coffee.
The movie skips to five years. It all comes full circle as we find Mia now buying coffee from her old workplace from an aspiring actress and was now a successful actress herself. She was now married to a different man and had a child. One night, she and her husband were looking for a place to eat and came across Jazz music. They went inside and saw that the logo she made for Sebastian a long time ago on the wall.
|Mia and Sebastian's dream sequences of their "What ifs"|
What if he had been able to buy his club afterall? What if he didn't have to go on tour? What if her play had been a success? What if he had been able to go to Paris with her?
In the end, Mia and her husband left but not without Mia and Sebastian one last look at each other. They had their happy endings despite not being able to find it with each other. While Sebastian probably questions what he had to do to get it as he not only had to give her up, he had to sell out the Jazz he loved. It wasn't the perfect ending but it was the best ending they could have hoped for ...
Mia Dolan played by Emma Stone, is a lovely aspiring actress from Nevada. She had been in Hollywood since she was barely out of high school but she was still looking for her big break. I like Mia's character, as she does give me the same sort of vibe as old actresses like Ginger Rogers or Leslie Caron.
Before I watched the movie, I wasn't sure at all if she could pull it off. I was confident she was a great actress as I have seen what she can d in Easy A and the Amazing Spiderman movies.
I was pleasantly surprised as he was definitely convincing. He was cute and after watching it made me wonder if he had any previous experience as a musician since he portrayed a man with a strong passion for music very well.
I actually liked watching Sebastian's story and struggles a bit more than Mia's as his is a struggle that really had no compromise.
While not a main character, his character played a big part for me in the story as he was responsible for choices and events in Sebastian's life. While not necessarily an evil villain, I can understand why others might see him as such.
Keith says, "You say you want to save jazz, but how are you going to save jazz is no one’s listening?" That line is probably the line that made the biggest impact on me in the whole movie. It is probably why I placed him on this list.
While Sebastian was a dreamer and a musician, Keith was a musician but a realist as well. He believed that success in the modern world wouldn't come by clinging to the past.
Music and Dance Numbers
As there are a lot of songs and dance numbers in the movie, I will only talk about the ones that stood out or what I consider my favorites.
|Another Day in the Sun, song and dance|
While the randomness of this took me by surprise, I do enjoy the song a lot. It is an optimistic song about what people wish and dream about in the City where dreams come true.
It was a good number to set up the tone of the movie. Expect singing, dancing and dreamers ...
|A Lovely Night, dance number.|
It was a number to show their growing attraction for each other. For me, this reminds me of a dance number by Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse which also took place in a park from The Band Wagon which still continues to be one of my favorite numbers.
|City of Stars, solo number|
This song feels very nostalgic. It has a distant memory vibe and a style similar to the genre is was based from.
|Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone and John Legend|
I have to admit that though I didn't necessarily learn anything new, I still watched a really good story. I hope we have more movies like these in the future. At the same time, maybe what makes this type of movies good is the fact that we rarely see anything like it anymore.
Musicals might be considered outdated by this generation, but once in a while something that feels like from the age of where the most romantic movies that ever came from Hollywood came from is just what we need ...