Amidst the incessant noise of incumbent US President Donald Trump’s stentorian voice and the one surrounding his signing marathon of increasingly outrages executive orders, 2017 also kindly lent us the antidotal opportunity to enjoy the amateur sounding, yet surprisingly endearing voices of actors Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in director Damien Chazelle’s breath-taking “La La Land”. Already the proud recipient of a record-breaking 7 Golden Globes, “La La Land” is now set to make history once again with its record-matching 14 nominations, including for Best Picture at the upcoming 89th Academy Awards on 28 February.
Described as a “musical masterpiece” by The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw (https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/aug/31/la-la-land-review-ryan-gosling-emma-stone), “La La Land” is a romantic comedy with a bittersweet end, which sets to revisit under a new light some of the established norms of the musical genre of the 1970s. Starring the equally talented and (let’s face it) attractive Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, the movie revolves around the story of aspiring actress Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), an impassioned jazz pianist who come to fall in love following an (un)fortuitous encounter on a traffic-jammed Los Angles highway. In the pursuit of their respective dreams, the two are eventually separated, only to be reunited briefly in Sebastian’s dream fulfilled jazz club, “Seb’s”, in a last heart-throbbing and cinematographically appealing scene.
In a recent online article for BBC Culture entitled “Why La La Land is making history” (http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20170124-why-la-la-land-is-making-history), contributor Nicholas Barber rightfully observed, “At heart it [La La Land] is a romantic comedy – and romantic comedies are hardly Oscar bait.” True as this may be, Chazelle’s pièce de résistance has succeeded nonetheless in seducing a global audience and this for a very simple reason: it is a just over two-hours reminder of the value of love and dreaming. In a world of increasing immediacy and widespread individualism, Mia and Sebastian’s short-lived romantic encounter emphasises in the most simplistic, almost clichéd of ways the power of human and humane relationships.
To watch “La La Land” is to be reminded of the poignant African proverb, which dictates, “If you want to go fast, gone alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Despite Mia and Sebastian’s heart-breaking separation, the metaphor persists.
Barber, N. (2017, 24 January). Why La La Land is making history. BBC. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20170124-why-la-la-land-is-making-history
Bradshaw, P. (2016, August 31). La La Land review: Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone shine in a sun-drenched musical masterpiece. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/aug/31/la-la-land-review-ryan-gosling-emma-stone