With 14 Oscar nominations, six Golden Globe wins, and a cast led by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, “La La Land” is on everyone’s radar. The movie musical has received heavy praise from even the toughest of critics. But did it hold up to Valley’s standards?
The plot of the movie is simple enough: two struggling artists fall in love in Hollywood as they chase their dreams. While the premise isn’t especially groundbreaking, it sets up a charming story that is thoroughly pleasing to watch unfold. Emma Stone plays actress Mia, whom the audience is quickly set up to root for. Stone is at her best portraying the playful, ambitious character, and Valley is predicting an Oscar win. Mia’s love interest, jazz pianist Sebastian, is brought to life by Ryan Gosling. Typical to most Gosling characters, Sebastian is immensely charming. The two characters spend the movie trying to balance their relationship with their goals.
The musical has many songs, but only a few of them truly impressed. This was in part due to mediocre vocal performances from both Stone and Gosling. “Audition (Fools Who Dream)” was meant to be the emotional peak of the show, and while Stone’s acting in the song was excellent, her small voice and the song’s dragging verses held the moment back. On the other hand, “City of Stars,” nominated for an Oscar, is a sweet, tender ballad sung by Sebastian in front of beautiful scenery. This song, along with the majority of the underscore, caught Valley’s ear.
What makes the film so dynamic is the cinematography. The film is peppered with several montage scenes that show the lead couple rushing through Hollywood to bubbling instrumental songs. The backgrounds are sweepingly exquisite and evoke an inexplicable sense of wonder. The most extraordinary example of this was the starry purple sky in the iconic planetarium scene.
Unsurprisingly, Valley couldn’t help but take note of the gorgeous fashion in the movie. Even the background characters are clad in candy colored clothing that pays homage to the era of movie musicals. Mia mainly sticks to pretty frocks in a rainbow of colors, all hitting right above her knee. Sebastian looks as jazzy as his music in khaki, gray, and navy suits. The characters looked as breathtaking as the scenery behind them.
Overall, film major Liz Rotolo found “La La Land” to be “a both heartwarming and gut wrenching story that perfectly conveys the struggle of juggling passionate love and obsessive ambitions.”
Valley couldn’t agree more, and recommends you go see it for yourself!