La La Land: The One Not To Miss

The Eye’s movie Mavericks, Flissy and Kai, take on the blockbuster film for all the struggling artists trying to live out their dreams, and for all the hopeless romantics —with a twist.

Flissy:  I went to the see La La Land in theaters last weekend, not knowing if I would like it or what to expect. I came out of the theater awestruck at how genius, creative, and NEW the movie was. It’s not like anything I’ve ever seen before. Out of the box concepts, special effects, the incredible musical numbers, and storyline kept my jaw dropping for the full two hours. 

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Scene from the film La La Land – Creative Commons License

Flissy:  One of the primary reasons to appreciate this film is its adherence to the traditional musical from the 1950’s, although it manages to feel very modern througout. Damien Chazelle has said “There are things you can do with the camera, and things you can do to appease modern expectations today that you couldn’t do in the Fifties; It was fun to take certain tropes from Fifties musicals.” The idea for the film started when Damien Chazelle was in University along with Justin Hurwitz who composed the music for the film. The idea was originally their senior thesis which was a low budget musical about a jazz musician called Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench. After finishing college Damien and Justin moved to LA and wrote the script for La La Land.

Kai:  A part of the film which I really enjoyed was the opening song, especially the cinematic aspect of it and the incredible accomplishment of shooting the entire sequence as one long shot. Damien Chazelle always envisioned that the film should have long takes. He believed that the long take would add to the musicality and overall flow of the film, stating, “The idea is to have a camera that itself feels melodic.”  Set in present day Los Angeles, La La Land opens with a traffic jam stretching along a freeway. Out of nowhere, everyone gets out of their cars and comes together to dance on the roofs of their cars and unite in a band of shared energy and frustration.

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Flissy:  My father, who is typically not one to like movies of this genre, came along open-mindedly and also came out of the theater singing the can’t-get-it-out-of-your-head theme song and praising just how amazing it was. Since watching, my discussions with people of all ages and both genders have revealed a common misconception:  Many went into the movie expecting to hate it, but then exited the cinema proclaiming La La Land as their new favorite film.  It’s a feel-good movie with a simultaneous element of realistic sadness and nostalgia for “what could have been” that challenges any movie-goer to leave the theater NOT feeling sunnier and brighter than before they arrived.


Kai:  Some people have suggested that La La Land is the so-called “revival” of the film musical. I really hope it isn’t.  Allow me to explain why: Firstly, the amount of planning into this film was meticulous. If this is the revival of the musical, studios should just churn out musicals just so that people will see them and not put in the effort that Damien Chazelle put in his film. An example of this attention to detail can be seen in the glorious set design and the colorful, dynamic locations where the various scenes were filmed.

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The director of La La Land, Damien Chazelle, courtesy of Creative commons License

Damien Chazelle added:  “Most of the movie was shot on locations (in LA) but every location was thoroughly designed, altered. Everything from subtle little touches like lamppost peppered throughout the movie to the more obvious builds like the planetarium.”

Flissy: La La Land is a wonderful medley of modern day and vintage charm. Mia (Emma Stone) is an aspiring actress who sells lattes to get by on a movie plot, and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) a jazz musician trying to keep the genre alive. The two actors who play these characters work very well together, as they have in films past, like Gangster Squad and Crazy, Stupid, Love.  La La Land follows their random encounters through fate by the seasons and there’s love, laughter, jazz, and a whole lot more involved.

Kai:  The director, Damien Chazelle even said, “When we were casting the movie… part of the appeal to me, you know, … were Ryan and Emma …  you can see them and imagine them together…a classic Hollywood screen couple.”  With a bittersweet ending that leaves you wishing the movie wasn’t over, this is definitely not a movie to miss.

“La La Land succeeds both as a fizzy fantasy and a hard-headed fable, a romantic comedy and a showbiz melodrama, a work of sublime artifice and touching authenticity.” – The New York Times

To conclude, we think that La La Land is probably one of the best films we saw in 2016, if you still haven’t seen it (which we highly recommend you do), check out the trailer below and catch it while you can at a few cinemas here in Singapore. It’s whopping 14 Oscar nominations have extended its stay. Or (if you don’t feel like leaving your home) it is already available for pre-order on iTunes. Yes —this is one you’ll be proud to own, as it deserves repeat viewings.

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Author: ford46576

Flissy Ford is a senior and a first year reporter for The Eye. This is her 3rd year at SAS, originally from London, but has also lived in the states for a majority of her life. When she is not catching up on sleep or playing tennis, you can find her drinking bubble tea, or watching Bachelor in Paradise. She can be contacted at ford46576@sas.edu.sg

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