La La Land (M)

In a Word: Vibrant

La La Land

Ryan Gosling stars as Sebastian and Emma Stone as Mia in La La Land.

Fun and full of colour, La La Land hearkens back to the hey-day of the Hollywood musical when it breaking into a song and dance number mid-traffic jam wasn’t anything unusual.

After seeing each other in passing several times, café waitress Mia (played by Emma Stone) and musician Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) meet at a “trying to make the right connections” Hollywood party. At first certain they couldn’t possibly be attracted to each other, they are soon swept into a romantic relationship.

They both have dreams of fame and fulfilment through the arts; Mia wanting to move into acting and Sebastian with visions of running his own jazz club. Lack of money, Mia’s endless audition knock-backs and Sebastian’s lack of opportunities take their toll on their relationship.

Frustrated at her lack of progress, Mia writes and performs in her own one-woman live show but it’s apparently a failure and, with her self-esteem at all time low and unable to face another audition, she walks away, giving up on her dreams and returning to her home town in rural America.

Sebastian, meanwhile, has a joined a band which sees him on the road for long stretches but it’s a long way from his dream of running his own club and Mia sees him as a sell out.

Undaunted by Mia’s decision to walk away and despite the setbacks they faced, however, Sebastian refuses to give up on their dreams, and, driving to her home town encourages her to return with him to Hollywood. Once back in LA, she attends the audition she’s walked away from, gets the job and ends up in Paris.

Jump forward five years and she returns to Hollywood as a successful actor where, with her husband, she accidentally walks into Sebastian’s jazz club. Akin to Sliding Doors, the story then opens up with three different possible endings shown.

Both Stone and Gosling are up to the task writer and director Damien Chazelle puts before them – both already have solid acting credentials but we can now add singing and dancing to their resumes.

Light-hearted in its approach – think 1950s musical meets  21st century romance, La La Land encourages us to reach for the stars, not give up on our dreams and to try for love. Certainly worth the accolades, it’s a film for those who enjoy dreaming about the possibilities life can bring.