This is my first movie review! Of all the movies nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars this year, this was the only one I got to see. (I really wanted to see Hidden Figures too though…) And I have to say that I liked this movie. I liked it quite a bit.
I will be ranking my movies by: acting, story, characters, design (layout and soundtrack) and world building. This review will also be short; I’m a little low on energy, and I saw this last month, so the details could be a little fuzzy. I may edit this later though.
Summary: Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone) are drawn together by their common desire to do what they love. But as success mounts they are faced with decisions that begin to fray the fragile fabric of their love affair, and the dreams they worked so hard to maintain in each other threaten to rip them apart.
Acting: 5/5. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Ryan Gosling or Emma Stone in a movie before. But man, they were good. They so deserved their Oscar nominations, they were very convincing and true to their roles. And they avoided the classic “romance movie with no chemistry” trap; they had SO much chemistry!
Story: 4/5: I liked the story, although there wasn’t a major plot line other than Mia and Sebastian trying to achieve their dreams. I liked how it progressed, and that it started off as the classic Hollywood romance, but ended up deconstructing that genre. It was more character based than anything.
Design, 5/5: I lived in California for ten years. This movie made me so homesick, I couldn’t believe it. So many places they went to, I’ve been. The outside of Mia’s apartment? A family friend lives there. The planetarium they went on a date to? Went there when I was five. The Angel’s Trolley that was another date? I’ve been there twice! It made me homesick in a good way. And don’t get me started in the soundtrack. This was an amazing musical.
Characters 4/5: Mia and Sebastian were the best characters. In some way, this could be considered almost a two person show. While there were other characters, they didn’t really stick out to me, which is why this is a four out of five. However, this is definitely their story, and it’s amazing. Their development and character journeys are amazing to watch.
World Building: 4/5: They got California pretty well. The Hollywood lifestyle, auditioning, and life of an artist seemed very authentic. It isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, and it seems realistically portrayed. The journeys of Mia to being an actress and Sebastian to being a jazz musician seem very authentic.
- CHEMISTRY!: The chemistry is amazing! They avoided the classic problem most romance movies have; no chemistry whatsoever. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone have so much chemistry. Their love story felt very real.
- The set: As I said, this movie made me homesick. That’s how well they captured California.
- Amount of music: A problem I usually have with musicals is just how much music they put in. I like the songs, but sometimes, they aren’t needed. La la Land had just the right amount of musical numbers for me.
- Starts off cliched: This is a mild complaint. But the love story starts off classic: when they first meet, they meet on the wrong foot. But is leads to the deconstruction of the Hollywood love story, so that’s good.
- Lack of side character development: I understand that Mia and Sebastian were the focus of the movie, but I wish they had included a little more development of some side characters. Not a lot, but a little.
- The hype: this is the most major enemy La La Land faces, I think; the possibility of people finding it overrated. So many people fussed over it, it was a nominated for so many Oscars…people could set high expectations for it, and may find it overrated, which I can understand. I hadn’t heard a lot about it (I’d hardly heard of any of the Oscar nominees), so that may be why I enjoyed it so much.
Final Rating: 4.5/5 stars