‘La La Land’: A Closer Look at the Fairytale Musical

Nicole Braun, Staff Writer

[Warning: this review contains spoiler(s)]

Consumed by a fairytale, swept away by original music, and envisioned in the streets of L.A., La La Land is an experience that entices all. After all, it did shatter records by winning 7 Golden Globes, including Best Motion Picture, and it did win 6 Oscars, a feat only achieved by All About Eve and Titanic. While it has collected such significant accolades, what makes this film so special?

Well to start, the setting immediately ropes in audience members by taking place in modern day Los Angeles and over the course of all four seasons. It is about an aspiring actress named Mia, played by Emma Stone, who constantly finds herself running into Sebastian, played by Ryan Gosling, a struggling Jazz musician who dreams of opening up his own classic jazz club. After running into each other multiple times, they become friends and inevitably start a romantic relationship.

The film follows Mia and Sebastian chasing their dreams in a city where dreams supposedly come true. However, they often find their dreams clashing, such as when Sebastian reluctantly agrees to join his friend Keith’s jazz-pop band after hearing Mia’s mother express her concern over whether he can support them or not. As a result, the band becomes incredibly successful and tours all over the country.

Despite his success, Mia accuses Sebastian of abandoning his dreams after watching him look unhappy while performing. However, Mia then follows her own path in her one-woman play titled “Goodbye, Boulder City”, which is a huge flop when only her roommates and a handful of other people show up. Following the failure of her dreams and Sebastian’s frequent absence from her life, Mia tearfully tells him that their relationship is finished and that she is moving back home to Nevada, giving up on her dream.

Five years later, after struggling to find her purpose, Mia is a successful actress and is married with a daughter. While roaming L.A. one night with her husband, they stumble across a club and decide to check it out. The club turns out to be Sebastian’s and it is just as he always dreamed it would be: packed, sophisticated, and playing classic jazz. As soon as Sebastian sees Mia walk in, the movie turns into a dream sequence where we see Sebastian and Mia together living their picture-perfect fairytale ending. Making peace with what could have been, and how they helped each other achieve their dreams, the two share one last look before Mia and her husband leave the club.

Even though the plot reels its audience in with its take on a classic romantic movie, the soundtrack of this film is what really makes it exceptional. La La Land’s soundtrack can only be described in one way: contagious. Being catchy and unforgettable, it even won the Golden Globe for Best Original Score. Along with the score, the costumes are also incredible.

Above all, this movie is truly enjoyable because it portrays characters who are lovable for their faults and aspirations, it has a soundtrack that ignites joy in anyone who listens to it, and because it is unlike any musical most have ever experienced.