Golden Globe Winner Makes Hearts Sing

Erin Morrisey, Staff Writer

When a movie has singing, dancing, special effects and romance, it often turns viewers away. But when that movie stars Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone and John Legend, it earns $4 million opening weekend, according to IMDB.

“La La Land” showcases two struggling artists in Hollywood: Sebastian (Gosling), a jazz pianist who dreams of opening a jazz club, and Mia (Stone), the typical energetic actress who works as a barista.

While this might sound like every other romance film ever created, “La La Land” captures the essence of love in an entirely new way (and simultaneously won seven Golden Globes and was nominated for 14 Oscars, according to IMDB).

Instead of focusing on the stereotypical moments that occur in relationships—the awkward but endearing first date; saying “I love you” for the first time; and moving in together—“La La Land” portrays a montage of heartfelt moments between Mia and Sebastian, interwoven with complementary music.

“Musicals are for idealists. One of the pleasures of classic film musicals is the chance to watch bodies become extraordinary,” Monohla Dargis of the New York Times wrote in her article “Musicals Matter Again.”

And Stone and Gosling are the perfect idealists for their roles; they show their genuine talent by expressing themselves through song and dance in a way no one else can.

“[The film] turns flirty into a performance, complete with a little tapping, a little twirling and several neatly executed barrel turns from Mr. Gosling,” Dargis wrote.

The plot of the movie is as much about love as it is about two people chasing their dreams and doing whatever they must to own a jazz club (Sebastian) or score a role in a film (Mia). What’s more interesting is how writer and director Damien Chazelle unfolds his story using the seasons—beginning and ending with winter—which gives the film a nostalgic aura.

“It’s a primary-colored homage to classic movie musicals, an act of ancestor worship, splashing its poster-paint energy and dream-chasing optimism all over the screen,” Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian wrote in his review of the film.

This movie was the perfect combination of realism and fantasy. The colorful costumes and jazz music embody nostalgia and romance while the dorky and less-than-perfect voices of Stone and Gosling represent “real life.”

“Behind the film’s nimble comedy and exuberant musical set-pieces beats a complex, crisply written romance, the power of which creeps up on you slowly then strikes in the film’s second half, in which Sebastian and Mia’s ambitions and relationship become increasingly tricky to reconcile,” Robie Collin of the Telegraph wrote.

I think that’s one of the reasons audiences and critics love the film so much: they can see themselves in the realistic yet fictional characters. Mia and Sebastian both struggle for what they want and interact as any other couple, yet they can still fully express themselves with one another. However, their old-world charm clashes with modern-day Hollywood and forces the couple to learn to live in a realistic world.