La La Land: Movie Review


via The Talon

The front cover of the musical movie, La La Land.

Oh, La La Land: the musical that caused a controversy, a few expletives to be shouted over the Internet, and thundering applause from the audience that watched this wonderful musical. As many unsuccessfully try to dry their tears over the ending of this movie, it’s reputation soars higher and higher… and the box office rolls in the big bucks. It’s a beautiful movie and has (as you may have guessed) an excellent soundtrack that features the robust characters vibrantly singing their hearts out, or a touching song conveying the most complex emotions.


La La Land tells the tale of Sebastian, the struggling musician with a love for jazz, and Mia, an actress who’s trying to make it big. They repeatedly meet each other at various social events and parties in the city of Los Angeles. Their friendship, love, and mutual struggles in the entertainment industry bring them together closer and closer until Sebastian makes his big break in the band. At first, Mia is proud and happy that Sebastian gets a stable job, but her attitude shifts once she realizes that he is giving up his hopes and dreams, as he thinks that that is what Mia wants. At the same time, Sebastian gets frustrated at her pestering and claims that she liked him better when he was unsuccessful. As they get into a heated argument, a neglected oven with food inside it starts smoking and sets off the fire alarm. As Sebastian hurriedly leaves their dinner table to take care of the mess, Mia leaves in dismay. She later performs her one-woman play she wrote only to find that little people attended… and Sebastian missed her play doing a photoshoot with his band. Disappointed and upset at how her life has taken a turn for the worse, she moves back to her hometown of Boulder City, Nevada.


As this splits the two farther and farther apart, they start to lose connection and the love they felt for one another… until Sebastian receives a call from a casting director that had attended Mia’s play. It turns out that the casting director was very thrilled at Mia’s talent, and wanted to give her a role in an upcoming movie. Sebastian quickly goes to her home in Boulder City and informs Mia about this. Despite protest, Mia agrees in the end and gets the role in the movie she was destined for.


Five years later, Mia is happily married to another man and is a wealthy, successful actress with a child. But one night, the couple goes out to a jazz bar. Mia, recognizing a logo she created for Sebastian’s possible nightclub, realizes that Sebastian did end up establishing his jazz club. As she watches Sebastian play, he spots her in the crowd, and plays their old love theme. During this, the movie shows their imagination in which their relationship worked out perfectly. Touched and sentimental, Sebastian and Mia share a nostalgic smile with each other before Mia leaves with her husband.


This ending wreaked havoc amongst the viewers: some of them were outraged from the lack of a happy, perfect ending, but others saw past Sebastian and Mia’s romance and understood that the true nature of the movie focused on the development and struggle of their careers, and how they found each other to deal with the pain. As for KMS student Emily D., she shares this sentiment – “I was pretty upset that they didn’t end up together! But that ending was reaaally good and at least it’s not cliche.”
We can all probably conclude that movie director Damien Chazelle definitely knew what he was doing when he created La La Land. Pairing the unexpected twist at the end with bringing back classic Minnelli-esque techniques (such as the bright, saturated colors of the costumes and landscaping, transform shots of dancing, and surreal scenes), he took an idea with potential and transformed it into something award-winning and revolutionary. With a great soundtrack to boot, La La Land is a beautiful piece that will entertain generations to come.