La La Land – An Ode to Dreamers
Here’s to the ones who dream,
foolish as they may seem.
Here’s to the hearts that ache.
Here’s to the mess we make.
And a mess is not something that Damien Chazelle has made in La La Land, have you ever heard of the saying, ‘they don’t make them like they used to do’- Damien did it. La La Land reminds you of those finest Hollywood musicals, and would let you dream high. It would take you on a musical journey of self discovery, of raw emotions, of unbinding beauty and will let you embrace on the beauty of Cinema.
La La Land stars Emma Stone(as Mia) and Ryan Gosling(Seabstian), as an Aspiring Actor and a Jazz Pianist, trying to work their way to the top. Chasing their own dreams. It is a story about how they meet in a club, and then after some more chance encounters, fall in love with each other. But more than being a Love Story, La La Land is a movie about two artists, trying to achieve something in their life. Its a love letter to cinema.
Damien Chazelle proved his worth in his first Production-Whiplash. Released a few years ago, Whiplash was also about music, and a journey of self discovery. It is also a common theme in La La land. The subtle direction nuances from Damien are not hard to miss, like using steady cam to shoot the first long scene. The Song, Another Day of Sun starts off the movie with Usual LA traffic. The scene in itself is something to be marvelled at, it not only introduce us to the city and characters, but also settles the musical tone of the movie. The camera movement are smooth and swift, it gathers the viewer into the movie and you just never leave from the screen throughout the run time.
Other thing easy to miss is the way director transforms the movie to a theater production. Whenever our characters move to a monologue, or play their unique part- in a way looking inwards to themselves. The stage (background) gets darkened, and a spotlight shines on our character. This happens multiple times showing when the artist is actually in his art, he forgets about everything else. Unfortunately he also needs someone who is there to clap and appreciate it.
Emma Stone does a great job in portraying Mia, she is bubbly, a barista in a studio. Trying to make it to the top. She performs flawlessly in the main monologue .
The movie is visually stunning and breathtaking. I can write another complete essay on how the movie uses certain colour, and have a particular colour palette. The cinematography is something to be marvelled at, especially in the epilogue , reminiscing on the days went by, the cinematographer also takes us on a journey back In time and then back again to the present. Using beautiful visual cues and giving various tributes to many of the best cinematography I have ever seen, La La Land never falters in Art Department. The Hollywood is brilliantly shot, the streets filled with Raw Magic of LA.An observatory, a boulevard, a bridge, a downtown trolley, these combine together to give us compete set of LA. Set design is perfect, lighting works wonderfully especially in the Pier Scene and the night scene When Mia and Sebastian sings ‘ A Lovely Night’.
The only problem with La La Land lies with its length, it feel rather short in the end, and the times when story skips months, the characters seems to have transformed a lot, especially Seabstian, he undergoes a huge transformation, which feels out of character. The Time gap does that, the movie could have been a little longer, but that’s just an excuse for me to be able to sit through it for more time.
The Soundtrack of the movie is also obviously perfect, the songs fills up the movie well and the background score by Justin Hurwitz is perfect, Damien’s love for Jazz is transferred from Whiplash to La La Land. The soundtrack contains various cues to Jazz and the main piano motif that connects Mia and Sebastian is wonderful.
Sebastian explains the magic of Jazz to Mia, he tells her why Jazz is dying and how his dream is to revive it. In another scene, he is playing Piano in a club when just like other scenes, the background starts to dim, and spotlight turns on to him playing the piano, but in another moment, the spotlight turns to the Sax Player, and you realize what this movie means. Each person holds within him/herself a dream. A Dream suppressed by some circumstances and in some rare moments when we dare to create something new. That raw feeling of following your dreams is what La La land captures with all heart.
It is like living a dream with open eyes, an eye popping dream. A dream that will take you ahead, remind you who you are and in the journey make you laugh and cry. To all those who dream.