Now that Valentine’s day is here, I wanted to review one of my favorite romance films. If you are looking for a movie to watch over the next day or two, here is the Pony Express’s favorite modern love story. We are reviewing Summit Entertainment’s La La Land.
An apathetic love interest turns into a masterpiece of expression between Ryan Gosling, as Sebastian Wilder, and Emma Stone, as Mia Dolan, deliver brilliant performances accompanied by a soundtrack that will keep you listening for days. When watching you need to look for three crucial things: One, is Sebastian’s constant draw and pulls from Mia. Two, the music’s role in their relationship with each other. Most importantly, three, the purposeful color palette of each scene directly representing each character.
Mia and Sebastian first meet on a congested L.A. highway, flipping each other the Trudeau Salute as their cars drive by each other. Sebastian is a temperamental pianist trying to save jazz from dying, and with aspirations to own his own jazz club. During his second encounter with Mia, he is frustrated from getting fired from his Christmas music job for playing the true music he wants to play, “Mia and Sebastian’s Theme.” Mia is an aspiring movie star with a past in a quiet city in Nevada. The audience sees Mia frustrated when audition after audition is interrupted, sabotaged, or not well received by the producers. When Mia hears Sebastian’s tune from outside the restaurant, she’s released from her frustration and is mesmerized by the song. When she walks in to tell the musician how beautiful the song is he ignores her. The third interaction between Mia and Sebastian (post middle finger and snub) finally allows them to get past their hostilities and they flirt about how they’ve run into each other in the vast L.A. three times.
La La Land won an Academy Award for its cinematography along with its use of color and hues to non-verbally demonstrate how the characters are feeling in exact moments as if it were body language. The most important colors to notice are the evolution of the use of red and blue. For example, the first time Mia and Sebastian meet, Mia is in a blue car while Sebastian is in a red one. The second time Mia is wearing blue and she stops in front of a jazz bar which from the outside she can hear Sebastian playing with red lights behind her to show the audience that Sebastian is inside, but also signifies danger and love which are also both inside. Numerous other times color is shown to represent a mood or how the two characters change in relation to each other. The final interaction between the two is the most prominent, and well, you should experience it for yourself.
La La Land sweeps you into your memories, loving emotions and leaves an impression on you when you relisten to the soundtrack they’ve bestowed upon you. It keeps you constantly interacting via visual aspects of color and the tantalizingly beautiful rhythm of the musical.
La La Land has been awarded five academy awards and a total of 39 critically acclaimed awards including the Golden Globes, Critic’s Choice Awards, and more. Whether you are rewatching the movie or experiencing it for the first time, its ability to nonchalantly tie in visual aspects to bring the audience into the story combined with its relatability of the love created in the movie makes La La Land a great movie to watch on Valentine’s Day.