Seeing a film is like watching a dream in third person. All night long, your brain writes, casts and directs movies for you to enjoy in your sleep. So
Seeing a film is like watching a dream in third person. All night long, your brain writes, casts and directs movies for you to enjoy in your sleep. So Hollywood is always in need of a fresh supply of dreamers, and they arrive anew each day: people striking out to make their own “dreams” of artistry or stardom come true. In La La Land, Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) has a dream; he’s a jazz pianist who wants to move beyond playing boring standards in cheap restaurants or plonky keyboards in pop bands and own his own jazz bar. Mia (Emma Stone) has a dream too; she’s an actress, hoping to get famous, yearning to abandon the grinding humiliation of auditions and perform satisfying, emotionally rich work. When they meet by accident, their dreams don’t include falling in love with each other. Mia has a boyfriend; Sebastian wants to focus on his music. But the plot of our dreams is unpredictable. We’re not writing the script. We don’t know whether we get the happy ending, or even what kind of ending would make us happy, until the curtain is already closed.
La La Land struck a chord with audiences and critics last year, scoring 14 Oscar nominations with six wins. A true Hollywood musical of the most celebrated style, filled with huge ensemble performances and intimate, intricate songs alike, it calls back to the golden era of American film and the love affair audiences have always had with the simple, sweet story of a boy and a girl, how they meet, where they go, and what they’re wishing for. It’s fitting that “la la land” can mean two places, because this film is set in both – the town where we make movies, and the faraway mental landscape inhabited by dreamers.