by Benjamin Haylett, director of broadcast
This year’s Oscar nominee record holder “La La Land” is a fun-filled romp for the whole family, provided you are ready for its considerable length.
“La La Land” tells the story of lovers Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), two people just trying to make it big in Hollywood. Mia dreams of becoming a famous actress, while the jazz loving Sebastian wants to open his own club where the history and pure depth of jazz can be enjoyed by like-minded people to himself.
This is a story as old as time, and “La La Land” works to perfectly personify the American dream in its brilliant acting and seamless integration of its musical numbers. The thing about musical numbers is in a subpar movie, they work to take the viewer out of the story, but “La La Land” hangs up with the greats like “The Sound of Music” and “West Side Story,” wherein the songs presented work to fully immerse the viewer into its world where breaking out into song in the middle of the workday is commonplace.
Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are a match made in heaven in this wonderfully cast picture. Their heartfelt performances make it no surprise that the are up for Best Actor and Best Actress. Beyond their acting chops, both of the leads show off their singing skills with voices that keep even the most stringent audiophile at ease. J.K Simmons and John Legend are some of the other A-list stars to grace the silver screen with their faces.
Visually, “La La Land” is absolutely beautiful. The set designers and wardrobe department work together in perfect harmony to either convey moods of bliss, love, or angst with only the color on the screen. This fact coupled with the excellent cinematography that uses constant long shots to show the story as it unfolds as opposed to telling it. The cinematic style is reminiscent of the golden age of Hollywood and even touches on the silent era of cinema. Scenes of either instrumental music, or at more tense times, pure silence, work to give “La La Land”, a period piece feel, for a story set in the modern day.
“La La Land” has been nominated for 14 Academy Awards, an honor only shared with “Titanic” (1997) and All About Eve (1959). With a rap sheet such as this, there is no reason why anyone shouldn’t go see “La La Land” as soon as possible. Take your significant other, take your grandma, take anyone you want, there is something in “La La Land” for everyone. Just make sure you bring your tissues.
Journalism Adviser, Saegertown Jr. Sr. High School