Review: Finding Your Dream in La La Land

Warning: Contains spoilers

La La Land (2016) is written by Damien Chazelle, who directed a hit film 3 years ago about the an ambitious drum players and his instructor. Chazelle came back to the screen with his La La Land.


La La Land is a story about two people in Los Angeles following their dreams. Emma Stone plays Mia, an aspiring actress struggling to garner attention working in her wairtressing job, Ryan Gosling plays Sebastian, a jazz musician who dream of opening his own jazz club one day but is struggling to revive this dying genre. The two’s first encounter was in a road rage, but fate brought them together when both were feeling at the rock bottom. Mia failed her latest audition and her car got towed on her night out, she then stumbled upon Sebastian playing improvised music on the piano but ended up being fired from his piano player job. Months later, the two met at a pool party and stroke up a conversation, they found out each other both are following their dream though both had little success. Despite hoping to climb up the social ladder with her then rich boyfriend, she decided to meet with Sebastian to see Rebel Without A Cause.


The two moved in together and both decided to continue pursuing their dream. Mia was to write a one person play while sebastian continued to work in the jazz club he frequented. But soon they were both challenged: An old class mate of Keith invited to join a pop-jazz band to provide him stable income but he only accepted it because he overheard Mia reassuring her mum he is doing something with his life. Mia was upset to see Sebastian stopped pursuring his dream, she even asked him: “Why do you care about being liked?”. Mia opened her one person play but Keith failed to show up due to a photoshoot and the play received negative reception. Mia then decided to part way with Sebastian and move back to Nevada.


A period of time passed, Sebastian recieved a phone call of a casting director who saw the play and offered Mia and opportunity to audition an acting role in a film. Sebastian drove to Nevada and pursaded Mia to move back to Los Angeles to follow her dream. Years later, Mia is now a famous actress and Sebastian fulfilled his dream of opening his own jazz club. Even though they are not together, both are happy that they did follow their dream and never betray themselves.


What I really love about this film is the inherent romantic realism of showing the human beings not as the state they are, but as what they could be and should be. La La Land is very similar to the encounter between Howard Roark and Vesta Dunning from the cut portion of The Fountainhead. Sebastian represented Howard Roark in his lowest point where he had the vision of constructing the best architectures in the world according to his vision but not approved by most people. He had to work for others like John Erik Snyte who steals ideas from others and claim as their own. But he realised his mistake of chasing petty cash instead of following his dream, just like how Sebastian realised what he was doing was against his integrity and started over with renewed confidence. Mia represented Vesta Dunning who shared the same value as Roark, Vesta was described as not the most attractive girl but with a stubborn strength like a steel knife to cut through the stage, she found herself losing her value when she was failed to be recognized for her talent, eventually she abandoned her goal to be what other people wanted her to be and lose both Roark and herself. La La Land provided a happier ending for Mia in which she did achieve her dream without losing herself, which is what romantic realism is about.

With La La Land, a crime ridden city full of young hopefuls is transformed into something beautiful where your dreams really do come true. The colourful set design and costume lifted the gloomy atmosphere from what is considered to be conventionally attractive to new and exciting ideals. The continuous shot and rapidly moving camera works enhanced the realism of the film and transported the audience into the colourful world of the protagonists. Both Stone and Gosling gave their best for their convicing roles, I really couldn’t ask for anyone else to do the same I think. The only fault I have for the film was the bad lip syncing, which could have been made less obvious. Regardless,  tt’s rare to see a film so full of hope and ideal without some form of political commentary, La La Land is a must see for anyone pursuing their dream or even just to feel good on a blue day.


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