Travels With JB

Travels With JB

Travel news and reviews

The opening scene from La La Land sets the tone for what’s to come – lots of colour, movement and music.

Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) in a scene from LA LA LAND, an Entertainment One Films release.
Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) in a scene from La La Land, an Entertainment One Films release.*

Many critics have understandably compared the movie to the great Hollywood musicals of the past, and while there are similarities there are also differences.

What’s similar is the storyline – girl meets boy and falls in love. In this case the girl is aspiring actress Mia (Emma Stone), who in between unsuccessful auditions is working at a coffee shop on the Warner Brothers set in Los Angeles.  The boy is Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a musician who is very serious about jazz and yearns to open his own jazz club.

The film follows a year in their lives after a very rocky start to the relationship.

One of a number of scenes set at Griffith Observatory.*
One of a number of scenes set at Griffith Observatory*.

There are plenty of musical numbers – some in more unusual places- such as the opening number which is set on LA’s gridlocked freeways. Several scenes are also set at Griffith Observatory.

What’s different about La La Land is some of the issues raised, and without giving too much away, the ending.

Conversations between Mia and Sebastian cover such topics as the price of fame, selling out your ideals, the impact of continual professional rejection and the conflicts between relationships and careers. Jazz lovers may also sympathise with Sebastian’s thoughts about the bastardisation of this musical genre!

Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone) discuss the merits of jazz*

It’s the differences that took me a little while to adjust to. While one minute the couple could be having a `meaningful conversation’ about quite a serious topic, the next scene might see them start singing or dancing!  At the same time there are a number of scenes which lead perfectly to one of the many songs La La Land features.  Six of these songs are original numbers.

Those more knowledgeable about dancing and singing prowess described Stone’s and Gosling’s efforts in these fields as passable. However all agreed their acting is top notch – the two have already been nominated for several awards.

It’s their third movie together and there’s no doubting their chemistry. It’s their acting, together with the movie’s colour, choreography and costumes that has resulted in La La Land being one of the most talked about and praised movies of 2016.

La La Land officially releases in cinemas on December 26.

* Photo Credit: Dale Robinette

Other movies I have enjoyed, which are showing during December and January, include Red Dog True Blue, Rosalie BlumMoana, and Sing.

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