Musical jazz La La Land

La La Land: the best original film-musical since ‘Moulin Rouge’?

One word – wow. This film is probably the best original film-musical since ‘Moulin Rouge’. It follows the stories of Mia (Emma Stone), a wannabe actress and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a talented jazz pianist and enthusiast and their attempts to ‘make it’ in Los Angeles – the city which breaks dreams.

The music and choreography is incredible and well-thought out. It is hard to pinpoint a specific moment or song that stands out, but Justin Hurwitz’s ‘Mia and Sebastian’s Theme’ is a beautiful waltz that permeates at different points in other pieces of music throughout the film. The songs are catchy and memorable and I believe that this theme will be the next ‘Godfather’s Theme’.

Neither Emma Stone or Ryan Gosling are particularly good singers, Stone redeeming herself in ‘The Audition (The Fool’s Who Dream)’ a heartbreaking song about dreamers and reality. Gosling should have stuck to playing the piano and although he did not sing very much, it was not particularly pleasant when he did. Both of these casting choices were probably to do with the fact that Emma Stone looks like the girl next door, and having Ryan Gosling in a film is a very effective way to sell tickets.

But was the storyline original? The premise was, but the relationship arc between the characters is very similar to the one in the musical by Jason Robert Brown called ‘The Last Five Years’, where both partners have careers that are very difficult to succeed in, one is more successful than the other and the relationship breaks down because of it. I do not know if the director or screen-writer realised this, but there are a few parallels between the two.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable film to watch, where you saw the relationship between the two characters progress to the point where you, as a viewer cared what happened to them. I strongly believe that this is a classic in the making, and I would not be surprised if it eventually made its way onto the stage.

Katerina Partolina Schwarz

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