By KATHERINE NGUYEN
There are very, very few ways for me to describe the way La La Land made me feel, but the most accurate combination of words I can summon is: hand me the box of tissues and some chocolate ice cream and leave me alone for a good two hours.
If you couldn’t already tell, this movie took my heart, my hopes and dreams, and my faith in the power of romance, and killed it. It took its beautiful original music, cinematography and acting — and killed it.
La La Land, released nationally on December 9, 2016, follows struggling actress Mia and talented jazz musician Sebastian through their escapades of achieving fame and finding love. The two characters are portrayed by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling respectively in their third feature film as a couple.
The movie’s clever title alludes to the nickname given to the beautifully magnificent (and completely polluted, which is how they got that beautiful sunset scene by the way) city of Los Angeles, as well as the idiom of being in a dream-like state of losing one’s hold on reality. It gives background to the setting of the feature while giving the audience an insight as to what being in the entertainment industry entails.
Regarded as one of 2016’s best films, La La Land can attribute much of its success to its writer and director, Damien Chazelle, and the original musical scores and numbers created by Justin Hurwitz.
Chazelle, building on the success of his 2014 film Whiplash, pushed for the film to be made after having completed the original screenplay six years prior to its release. Hurwitz, also Chazelle’s Harvard University classmate, composed and orchestrated the soundtrack, though the lyrics to the songs were largely written by music duo Pasek and Paul.
Arguably one of the most magical points of the movie are the acting and chemistry between Stone and Gosling. The two, not professional singers by any means, brought to life many beautiful numbers, managing to capture genuine heart and soul into each. Both had to learn the art of tap dancing, while Gosling also had to dedicate much time to mastering the piano.
The cinematography, done by Linus Sandgren, was also massively praised; Chazelle wanted to incorporate an old-school feeling to the movie, thus leading to it being presented in a widescreen, CinemaScope method.
The film currently holds a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 8.6/10 on IMDb. Another factor of its affluence was its ability to resonate with the audience and connect to many.
“It’s an inspirational story,” Maxwell Han (Sr.) said. “No matter what you do or what you are going through, you can find yourself in the movie. I think that’s the true beauty of it.”
Along with receiving critical acclaim, La La Land has many awards underneath its belt. Breaking the record number of nominations, the film won all seven titles in the 74th Golden Globe Awards with Best Film, Best Director (Chazelle), Best Actor (Gosling), Best Actress (Stone), Best Original Screenplay (Chazelle), Best Cinematography (Sandgren), Best Art Direction/Production Design and Best Score.
For the 89th Academy Awards, to be presented on February 26, 2017, it garnered a record breaking 14 nominations.
La La Land is likely to retain its illustrious prestige for years to come, for it is a true embodiment of musical magic: the audience is truly able to enjoy the content while comprehending the twisted combination of chasing one’s dream and chasing love.