Movie Review: La La Land

I have always been a person who has never liked musicals and for mainstream movies, musicals are very rare. The new movie La La Land has just the right percentage of singing and dancing that for even a person who hates musicals, it never seems overdone. As a matter of fact, this entire movie was produced very well and had one of the best and most intelligent endings I have ever seen in any film I have ever seen. The brilliant ending showed an alternate world which was a message that whatever your dreams are, can you really have it all? The message of the ending was, sometimes if you want what you dream of, you have to give up something else.

The IMDB opinion score for La La Land is one of the highest ever posted, right now an 8.9 and I can see why this movie has been so popular. One reason is that it’s very unusual, unlike anything that has been done before. Yes, this movie is a musical but it the majority of the film is non-musical and the story behind it was very compelling and interesting. This movie is certainly about a love story, but mostly this film is about taking huge risk with your entire life in the hopes of making it in show business, either as a musician, played by Ryan Gossling or an actress played by Emma Stone.

One problem with show business and the very few that make it in any way and the fewer who make it big is that the payoff when you do make it is so completely out of proportion with any other profession in the United States or the world. Show business pays actors and singers far more than makes any sense and because of this and the way their lives seem to some poor kid in Nebraska, far too many young people move to California in the hopes of following their dreams of stardom. Someday there will be a 60 minutes-like documentary where the stark statistics that represent the reality and more importantly, the odds of making it in Hollywood or even as a musician will be produced. The odds are probably close to putting money on one number and winning 3 times in a row in Roulette. Given those long odds, does it even make sense to put all your money on one number and perhaps ruin your whole life on one hail mary pass? How many young people who move to California or New York even have a backup plan? These long odds are well demonstrated in this movie, with Emma Stone living in a bad apartment with 3 other roommates and Gossling living in another bad apartment and getting fired from his night job at a seedy bar where he plays the piano. The horrible Los Angeles traffic is also shown in this movie especially at the beginning along with Stone’s many auditions where she is ignored and rudely treated by the casting directors and at one point she almost gives up on her dreams entirely.

One can only imagine the nightmare of sitting in your broken down car on a hot day in traffic, traveling to another audition that you know you have no chance of getting and then working in your low paying bad job in a coffee shop. How many years and now many rejections can any person take at any age, when you’re faced with a daily existence like this?. What is the age where you finally realize that this dream is just not going to happen for you and you finally just give up? For every Emma Stone or Ryan Gossling or even Mark Wahlberg how many equally or even more deserving and talented people, just never get their lucky break? It is great to pursue your dreams but ultimately, is it worth the risk of wrecking your entire life and retirement to realize a goal that is so hard to reach? Do the very lucky few who do make it even realize how lucky they are? How many do make it, at least for a time but then are never able to reach those heights ever again or worse, never save enough money when their one chance in a lifetime comes through? These are all the questions I asked myself when I saw this movie. The ending of La La Land does have a nice Hollywood type of ending, but with a very intelligent twist on the happy endings we are all used to seeing in movies. I thought that this new twist with the happy ending was very well done as was the acting of Gossling, Stone and even the singer John Legend.

At first, I was reluctant to see this movie because it was a musical, but at the end, I was convinced that this was a very good movie that will be nominated for best picture this year and it does get my strong recommendation.

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