Though it could be a little delayed now, but there's no harm in appreciating a movie with 14 oscar nominations. La la land has been nominated in all major categories such as Best picture, Best male actor in a lead role( Ryan Gosling), Best female actor in a lead role( Emma stone), Best original screenplay ( Damien Chazelle), Best original music score (Justin hurwitz) to name on a few.
The movie begins in a crowded Los Angeles motorway, with a beautifully choreographed single shot dance number ( Another day of sun). All of the dance musical in this movie is choreographed on a single shot, which we do not see often. Mia Dolin( Emma stone) is a struggling upcoming actress who dreams of becoming a successful actress, but fails in the auditions repeatedly. On some occasions, luck doesn't seem to be on her side. Her friends persuade her to join the Christmas party( There's someone in the crowd) to which she reluctantly agrees. There's a beautifully picturised shot where the spotlight falls on Mia and everything else fades to dark. Now we see this kind of shot several times in the movie, every time this happens we witness magic on the screen.
On her return, she stops by a bar where she hears jazz music being played. She notices Sebastian( Ryan gosling) being fired by the owner( J.K Simmons) who warned him not to play jazz music. The scene shifts to the opening traffic scene shown from the point of Sebastian. Sebastian is a struggling jazz keyboard player who is passionate about jazz and wishes to open his own jazz bar. He is struggling to pay his bills and annoyed upon fired, just walks away from the bar ignoring Mia's compliment for his music.
The two of them keep bumping into each other ( A lovely night). On one occasion Mia tells Sebastian she hates jazz. An enraged Sebastian takes Mia to a jazz club, where they witness a band play jazz. "Jazz is dying, but not on my watch" says Sebastian. Sebastian then invites her to a jazz play on the following week and advices her to never give up acting and write her own script. Following this scene, we have the best musical in recent times(City of stars), brilliantly captured.
On the same night of the play Mia has a double date with her boyfriend and his brother with his spouse. Mia does not seem to enjoy the conversation, hears jazz music being played and runs away from the restaurant and joins Sebastian at the play. Sparks fly and the two of them fall in love. Sebastian is still struggling to pursue his dream of playing jazz. He bumps into his old mate Keith, who owns a band that plays jazz, with promotions on the road. Sebastian joins the band, but the music he plays is not what he loves. He continues to perform with the band ,as it pays him.
Mia struggles to find an auditorium for her play. Mia and Sebastian start drifting as his band requires him to be on the road. Mia finally finds an auditorium for her play, but to a very limited audience. She stares at the empty chair she had reserved for Sebastian. Sebastian misses the play due to his band commitments. A furious Mia leaves him and goes off to her 'home home'. Sebastian receives a call from a casting director who liked Mia's play and invites her for an audition. Mia does not want to audition as she is rejected on every occasion. Sebastian motivates her and convinces her to go to the audition.
Unlike other auditions, here Mia is asked to tell a story. What follows is a poetic representation of anyone struggling to achieve their goals( Here's to the one's). Mia is successful at the audition. Sebastian and Mia realise they have to pursue their dreams and cannot be together. They promise to love each other forever. What transcends further in the flash forward portion reminded me of Gautam Menon's Vinnaithandi varuvaya. The last 20 odd minutes in the film is a treat to watch and a moment to cherish.
This movie had a similar tone with respect to the epilogue as 'Whiplash', 2014, but on a different note. La la land is a poetic beauty on screen and certainly one of the best musical in recent times. I would rate this 4/5.
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