La La Land: Realist vs Romantic

Damien Chazelle pens a love letter to Hollywood — only with a realistic perspective that changes the meaning of a happy ending.

After winning seven Golden Globes this season and a total of 76 awards overall, Lionsgate has now announced the possibility of a La La Land live stage musical in the works. The reception to Damien Chazelle’s successful follow up to Whiplash has been monumental and the love hasn’t stopped there. La La Land will now join Titanic and All About Eve for the most Academy Award nominated award in history. With multiple references to iconic films and musical homages such as Singin’ in the Rain and West Side Story – La La Land has already gone down in history and garnered the title of being ‘the most romantic film of the year’.


But what steps it aside from being another predictable, cliché Hollywood film?

The scene opens with exactly this – a predictable cliché. An unrealistic view of what moving to L.A would really be like and it is exactly what Chazelle wants the viewers to perceive this as – the “city of stars”. Shot in Hollywood and about Hollywood, two young creatives try and make their mark in the industry and ultimately strive for the all American dream. Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone) journey through predictable clichés throughout the film, such as being sacked from jobs, failing auditions and spilling coffee. These become the trials they overcome to find each other – and it becomes their destiny to meet each other again. Chazelle brings these classic romantic references with all guns blazing – and into a musical, colour-blocking number that’s told through the seasons. The ultimate love letter.

However, answering the question before – although Mia and Sebastian become intertwined in a twirling love affair with each other and the ‘City of Angels’, both endure the ugly side of Hollywood; long hours, dedication and no money while you work to earn your chance. Despite the fact that Sebastian and Mia were destined to meet – the realism is that love does not conquer all and whilst Mia tries to stay grounded and earn her big break, she sees Sebastian slowly losing sight of what he set out to be – keeping jazz music alive. As the seasons roll out, both Sebastian and Mia become exhausted in juggling both their individual dreams and themselves – resulting in a final break up with each other and parting ways.

Years have passed and Mia becomes a Hollywood star with a loving husband and child, whereas Sebastian owns his own jazz club and quits his old band. Beginning and ending in Winter, Chazelle brings in one last attempt of romance into the final few scenes where Sebastian serenades Mia with their song. But while he tries to hold on to this fantasy, he’s brought back to his reality – his jazz club. In a way, Mia and Sebastian help each other to find their true love, L.A – honouring each other for the help along the way. But the realistic aspect of La La Land is actually a romantic modernity that transcends the classical Hollywood film and honours love in it’s entirety today.

Good Luck to La La Land today in all fourteen of it’s Oscar nominations.

RATING: 8/10

1 comment on “La La Land: Realist vs Romantic

  1. It’s a sweet and lovely movie for sure. Nice review.


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