Movie Review: La La land

Title: La la Land

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone

Director:  Damien Chazelle

Synopsis: La La Land is a 2016 American musical 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. Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone) are drawn together by their common desire to do what they love. But as success mounts they are faced with decisions that begin to fray the fragile fabric of their love affair, and the dreams they worked so hard to maintain in each other threaten to rip them apart.

Recommendation to watch 5/5

This movie was the perfect balance of smart and enjoyable. I walked out of the cinemas, burdened by the knowledge from the movie - in a good way. 


The Message

La la land is driven by a love story - but this was not the crux of the movie. The love story was a tool for director Chazelle to drive home to contrast between dreams versus reality.  As I watched the ending scene *SPOILER* it reminded me that we live in an "adult" world - a world that sadly doesnt promote the pursuit of personal "childlike" dreams. The beauty of the movie isn't in its fairtale love story, but its beautiful portrayal of reality, and the ending brought this message all together.

A beautiful love story with a life changing message

A beautiful love story with a life changing message

I walked away from the movie feeling quite depressed. It reminded me how easy it was to lose your orginal sense of self in society's pursuit of what they deem as success. Equally, it reminded me that perhaps you are faced with a choice in life, and your dream may not be the road you choose - something Mia did. Her dream life (as shown in the ending sequence), was with Seb. But ultimately, she didn't live that dream, but an alternate universe where she lived her career dream. The director cleverly crafted the movie such that the movie delivers a different meaning to everying, and for me, it reminded me to understand what I truely want in life - and to pursue that relentlessly - because life is not a fairytale.


Throughout the movie, the plotline indicated that Mia and Seb were meant to be. However, the strong use of cinematography made sure that the unrealistic nature of their relationship was clearly shown. From the overly vivid colours that is too beautiful to exist in the real world, to the scene where Mia literally flies - they are all reminders that their love story is only a dream, and is doomed to fail. Visually, the movie is a delight. I loved the wardrobe ensemble, and was classy yet captivating.

La la land was a visual delight, with the cinematography delivering as much of the message as the plot

La la land was a visual delight, with the cinematography delivering as much of the message as the plot

Muscial Scores 

The musical numbers in La la land is iconic - "City of Stars" left me with a feeling of nolstagia, paired with a longing. It encaptures the message spoken by the movie in its melodic notes. As a piano player myself, I find that music is most powerful when it delivers an emotion - not when the notes are complex. I think this movie definitely captures your heart and soul in the music. 

Overall, this movie was brilliant. Its not a lighthearted watch, so expect to walk away feeling a little depressed. It literally took me around 3 hours to get over the epiphanies I had after the movie. But I think that is an amazing thing - we live in a world where we want everything to be happy endings and princes. Its good, every so often, to be reminded that we dont live in a fairytale. Just reality. 


Victoria Gao