So it’s Christmas and right now I’m still too emotionally raw to write a lengthy review of La La Land, so here’s the best I can do for you.
It’s visually delightful. I love the aesthetic and colors and the presence of tap shoes. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone have incredible chemistry, which we all know, so I spent two hours wishing they could be together IRL while respecting his life with Eva Mendes. It seemed more musical heavy at the beginning and as the story progressed, the joy almost left, which paralleled well.
It’s time now
Stop reading if you don’t want spoilers
HERE WE GO
They. Don’t. End. Up. Together. Obviously, this is a very realistic look at two ambitious artists in Hollywood trying to find their careers and love each other. I appreciate a story that feels real, like two people who clearly want to be together but can’t right now for various reasons.
Their first interaction comes in LA traffic where Seb (Ryan) honks at Mia (Emma) as she’s going to work. He is a jazz enthusiast and purist and she is an aspiring actor. After a Hollywood party, she is pulled into the club where he is (reluctantly) playing. His original melody, well infectious, isn’t allowed and he is promptly fired by J. Jonah Jameson. She walks toward him to tell him she loved his music, but he shoves by her. Months later, they’re at a party together, she a guest and he a member of an 80s band. To add insult to his apparent injury, she requests for him to play ‘I Ran.’ This leads to delightful hate-flirting and a wonderful tap dance between two people who definitely don’t like each other (they do).
He finds her, they make plans, she has a boyfriend, she leaves boyfriend at restaurant to see a movie with him and then they kiss and we see a whirlwind of romance and happiness.
Mia writes a one-woman play and Seb joins John Legend’s band playing fake, new-age jazz to have a stable income. Obviously, this tears them apart because plot and life. He’s gone all the time and misses her one night (poorly attended) performance because of a work responsibility. They fight, it’s sad, Mia moves home.
Later, Seb receives a phone call for Mia from a casting director and finds her in Colorado to bring her back (is Boulder in Colorado? Too lazy to check). She does well in the audition, they have a nice talk and acknowledge they have to live their lives and I started crying basically.
It gets worse.
We jump five years later. We see Mia is now a very famous actress with a child (!) and a husband (!!) who is not Seb. I would like to say I was noble here, but immediately I thought most celebrity marriages end in divorce so there is still hope. She ends up at Seb’s club, he sees her and plays the beautiful melody that connected them and the audience is shown their lives had they stayed together. It’s an awful tease.
So there it is. Two ambitious people who follow their dreams and find success and ultimately sacrifice their love to make it happen. Real, but sad.
I give it two thumbs and a broken heart.
- Do you think Seb and Mia ever realized they saw each other on the highway that day? Probably not
- Am I translating my hopes that Mia gets divorced to Ryan getting divorced so they can be together in the movie and IRL? Hopefully not
- I need to watch Crazy, Stupid, Love to see them together for real
- I really hate jazz music. Ryan Gosling makes it seem cool, and maybe I appreciate the feeling behind it more, but I will never seek it out
- THESE COSTUMES
- Ryan Gosling won’t win any singing awards but he already tapped his way into my heart so I don’t care
- Why can’t all movies have happy endings? We deal with enough reality every day