The Musical to Save All Musicals

By Elizabeth Gonzalez

La La Land is a film for the dreamers and the romantics. No matter which category you fall into, you end up falling in love with La La Land’s protagonists: Mia and Sebastian.

This film leaves watchers feeling a whirlwind of emotions by the time the credits roll in or singing one of the film’s original songs for the next several days.

Every one of La La Land’s seven Golden Globes Awards (which included awards for the director, protagonist, plot, visuals, and audio) were well deserved. The couple’s song – “City of Stars”has a timeless and retro beauty deserving of one of the movie’s seven Golden Globes Awards.

The dedicated actors, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, stepped out of their comfort zone to learn countless song lines and take a crash course on dancing. Gosling learned to play the piano purely for the role of Sebastian. Their incredible efforts are reflected on the film’s outcome, definitely earning them the Golden Globe Awards.

Damien Chazelle, the director the musical, drew his inspiration from memories of living in Los Angeles, nicknamed La La Land. During an interview for The Guardian, Chazelle spoke about how in the city it was common to see people struggling to accomplish their dreams.

“I guess you write what you know… Even if the dreams don’t come true – that to me is what’s beautiful about Los Angeles. It’s full of these people who have moved there to chase these dreams. A lot of those people are told by people around them that they’re crazy, or that they’re living in la la land. I wanted to make a movie that saluted them a little bit, and that kind of unrealistic state of mind,” said Chazelle.

La La Land  tells a heartfelt story about a struggling actress, Mia (Stone), who meets a frustrated jazz pianist, Sebastian (Gosling). This pair’s hardships and struggles in life are very realistic and common enough for the spectator to identify and relate with – making ends’ meet, accomplishing their dream – on a personal level. You can’t help but laugh along with them, cry when the mood goes sour, and fight the urge to yell in frustration when the characters don’t get their way.

The Harvard graduate’s refined directing skills abled this musical to come to life. The film is well thought out, with every detail from the dialogue to the color schemes carefully staged in every scene of the movie.

By being so engrossed in every aspect, Chazelle allowed the musical the luxury of tastefully tampering with the line between reality and imagination – especially since some of its scenes are too magical to be true.

The film leaves the spectator dumbfounded at times, not because of the inability to comprehend a scene but because at times, the magical alternative is romantically mesmerizing.

The film’s similarities to life’s painful realities are all too real— just what Chazelle aimed to an achieve.

“La La Land is about the city I live in, it’s about the music that I grew up playing, it’s about movies that I grew up watching,” said Chazelle.


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