La La Land

A review of La La Land by Rob Mason

La La Land is a 2016 American musical romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Damien Chazelle and starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as a musician and an aspiring actress who meet and fall in love in Los Angeles. The film's title refers both to the city of Los Angeles and to the idiom for being out of touch with reality.

A movie that has attracted a lot of attention although I can’t really see why.  It seemed to me that the story line about following your dream was not enough to pick the film up.  The two lead characters (Mia and Seb) did follow their respective dreams but this did nothing for me or the movie because it did not seem to result in their subsequent happiness.  There was plenty of dancing and youthful energy which did go some ways towards improving the overall effect. But the emphasis on jazz and the way it was featured in the film with an enthusiastic audience did just not seem authentic.  It seemed to me that Seb would have been far more at home as a concert pianist where he could have been featured as a solo artist rather than a member of the band.
I believe the movie should have had more storyline content as in ‘West Side Story’, and with dancing that kept more to the storyline.  A good example of this is the movie ‘Saturday Night Fever,’ which contained a screenplay that was integrated with the acting and the film’s sound track.  In La La Land the dancing and music were not balanced with the film script.  The music should connect and support the screenplay not drown it out.

Chazelle wrote the screenplay in 2010, but he did not find a studio willing to finance the production without changes to his design. Following the success of his 2014 film Whiplash, the project was picked up by Summit Entertainment. La La Land premiered at the Venice Film Festival on August 31, 2016, and was released in the United States on December 9, 2016. It has grossed $339 million worldwide on a production budget of $30 million.

Director:  Damien Chazelle


Mia           (Emma Stone, Best Actress)

Sebastian (Ryan Gosling)