With the Academy Awards around the corner, we thought it might be a good idea to give the Best Picture nominees a proper Rogue Review. As the only real musical theatre fan in the runner's room I believe it's my duty to give La La Land an 'impartial' review.
Set in the city where dreams come true, or are smashed into smithereens, Los Angeles works beautifully as the backdrop to this modern take on your traditional love story. The movie, a true homage to all things Hollywood, is filled with eye-popping colours, beautiful cinematography, and a penchant for wide-angle lenses as it dances from harsh reality to whimsical fantasy.
The energetic opening number "Another Day of Sun" leads one to believe this is your stereotypical bouncy and poppy musical, albeit with fantastic camerawork, but as the movie moves into its second act we find the tone shift to a melancholic and romantic yearning for the days of old Hollywood. Mia, played subtly and beautifully by Emma Stone, dreams of becoming a star (as evidenced by the enormous portrait of Ingrid Bergman plastered on her bedroom wall) while Sebastian, played by Ryan Gosling with his staple subdued nonchalance, dreams of opening up his own jazz club and travelling back to the heydays of the genre.
Through random chance encounters on our tour of the city of stars our two leads find themselves, though slightly begrudgingly, falling in love. We get to revel in the moment that Mia ditches her boyfriend to meet Sebastian at a theatre for their first, technically, unofficial date and delight as their hands slowly meander into an embrace. Seriously, if that hand holding scene doesn't make you feel like an awkward love-keen teenager... I digress.
The musical numbers take more of a backseat through the second half of the film, giving our non-musical theatre inclined audience members a bit of respite from the choreographed spontaneous dancing, while we delve deeper into the ups and downs of a relationship. Now, I won't spoil the ending by diving into the plot of the second half of the movie (though I believe the writing could've been a little tighter and more satisfying when it comes to the curtain call) and will say that Mia's final song serves as an iconic show-stopping number and recommend that you, even you non-musically inclined folk, watch this beaut of a movie. You know... just in case the fact that it earned 14 Academy Award nominations and 9 Golden Globe wins hadn't convinced you yet, let my word be the actual reason you watch this modern classic.
Till next time,