La La Land: Fantasy Meets Reality

Poster Board for the movie La La Land.


Poster Board for the movie La La Land.

Gabrielle C. '18, Associate Editor

Imagine that you were able to step back in time to a classy and vintage Hollywood,  with realistic struggles of making it big as a celebrity, and the end result is La La Land. This PG-13 movie is not only filled with A-list celebrities, but also gives you this old time feeling of a more classic Hollywood. The cheesiness of arbitrary singing and dancing in every musical known to man, met with the realistic struggles of trying to be a serious performer, is all condensed in this one movie. La La Land does not only have fantasy meets reality, but also modern times meet old times.

    This realistic yet fictional musical, written and directed by Damien Chazelle, is about two very unlikely people meeting up and trying to make their dreams a reality. Mia Dolan (portrayed by Emma Stone) is a struggling actress, who goes to audition after audition, yet she is never cast for a role. Sebastian Wilder (portrayed by Ryan Gosling) is a struggling jazz musician, who wants to stick to a more traditional style but is very stubborn about changing his musical styles. Mia and Sebastian meet during the Christmas season in a restaurant as Sebastian is being fired for playing one of his own jazz pieces instead of sticking to the set list. As Mia walks up to Sebastian to compliment him, Sebastian abruptly walks into her and leaves without saying a single word. A few months go by and nothing really changes for either person. Mia and Sebastian meet again at a party, and there is the very beginning of their new relationship. As the weeks go by they become closer to one another. Mia reveals why she wants to become an actress and is able to make Sebastian appreciate the movies; while Sebastian informs Mia that jazz is dying and wants to restore it to its former glory by opening up his own jazz nightclub. Soon their relationship blossoms into a cliche romance.

    Over the course of several months, Mia and Sebastian take matters into their own hands to try to make their dreams a reality. Mia writes a one-woman play, while Sebastian joins a jazz band with an old friend from school. His friend, Keith (portrayed by John Legend), has the same dream as Sebastian, however, Keith is more willing to modernize it to attract a younger audience. Sebastian is very weary about joining the band for this reason because of his odium to change jazz in the slightest way, but he ultimately joins the band. The band quickly rises to stardom and soon goes on tour, leaving Mia behind to work on her one woman show.

    The couple gradually starts to drift apart due to Sebastian’s tour and Mia not being able to attend his concerts because of her play. On the night of Mia’s one-woman play, Sebastian isn’t able to make it because the band has a photo shoot that night. After her play is over, Mia notices how small the audience is causing her to feel like a failure. When Sebastian arrives at the scene, he tries to apologize to Mia and convince her to not give up on her dreams but to no avail. Mia returns to her parents’ house and tries to figure out her life from there. Sebastian eventually persuades Mia to give acting another try, and she finally manages to get a role in a movie. After her audition, Mia and Sebastian talk about their relationship. They agree to break up but to always love each other.

    The movie flashes five years into the future. It follows Mia’s and Sebastian’s lives separately, like in the beginning of the movie. The final minutes of the movie reveal how their lives have changed within the past five years and ends with the two protagonists meeting up again.

    This movie can be summed up in two words: simply fantastic. This movie is 100% original and constantly full of unpredictable plot lines. One moment you think that they are living a cliche fantasy life, then the next it is bombarded by the realism of life. In my own opinion, La La Land is the modern version of The Sound of Music. However, there are some moments that are too much. For example, some of the romantic scenes take lovey-dovey up a notch, which is an absolute annoyance to people who aren’t into romance. But overall, this movie gives its audience a warm, giddy feeling from watching it. La La Land is a movie that will soon be among many great classics.