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“La La Land” sparkles


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I usually hate Oscar nominated movies. I’m more of a romantic comedy, chick flick, or cheesy ’80s movie kind of girl. But when I saw Ryan Gosling was in the critically acclaimed musical, “La La Land,” I decided to give one of those films a shot. And I’m glad I did.

The film follows the heartbreaks and obstacles that plague Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Gosling), two artists trying to make their names in the cut-throat world of Hollywood. Mia, an actress looking for her big break, drives a Prius and goes to parties in hopes of finding someone to bring her to the silver screen. Sebastian, a jazz enthusiast hoping to own his own club one day, is just trying to get by.

Besides the obvious chemistry between Stone and Gosling that has been on display in multiple films, including “Crazy, Stupid, Love” and “Gangster Squad,” the set was the aspect of the film that sparked the most Academy Award nominations since James Cameron’s classic love story, “Titanic.”

Between a traffic jam dance scene in the middle of Los Angeles, to the 1960s inspired street corners of Warner Brothers Studios, to the sunset-filled invisible wire dance scenes, “La La Land” casts a whimsical, enchanting spell. Stone and Gosling give performances of their careers, each showcasing their dancing, vocal, and acting chops. Both won Golden Globes for actor/actress in a leading role, and should take home the same awards at the Oscars later in February.

Writer-director Damien Chazelle’s obvious talent proven in similarly acclaimed 2013 flick, “Whiplash,” was continued in “La La Land.” It was charming and funny and exhilarating, while also delivering a light in seemingly dark times. It was heart-wrenching and nostalgic, and each piece was so perfectly crafted. Instant classic.

This is a movie for dreamers. For people who have aspirations so big and unlikely and foolish. I walked out of the movie feeling like I could do or be anything I wanted to. But the path to success is long and arduous, a journey filled with the highest highs and the lowest lows. Life is unpredictable, but in a beautiful and perfect way.

Who knew a musical could teach you all of that?

 

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