‘City of stars, are you shining just for me?’
There’s something incredibly beautiful about the sort of 1950s-1960s glamour that is often only portrayed in musicals. From the iconic Pink Ladies of Grease, to the alluring charm of Hairspray’s Link Larkin, musicals capture the zeitgeist of clothing, culture and societal issues of the era in a way that informs and explores reality without addressing it head on. La La Land, written and directed by Damien Chazelle, perfectly captures the juxtaposition of the promise of fame in Hollywood in a modern-day 1950s, and the search for happiness.
I was kindly invited along to an advance screening of La La Land in Cineworld Dublin on 9th November, presented by Lionsgate. Starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, I knew we were in for a treat when we sat down to watch what has been widely described as a romantic comedy musical. Chazelle succeeded in accurately depicting the romantic glamour that is often reminisced of the 1950s, in a contemporary Los Angeles setting. La La Land tells the story of Mia, a struggling actress played by Stone, as she scrapes a living working in a café in Warner Brothers Studios while dreaming of making it big time. She meets Sebastian (Gosling), a struggling, passionate jazz musician who wants nothing more than to open his own jazz club.
Supporting cast include John Legend and Rosemary Dewitt as Keith and Laura who feature heavily throughout the film. Both Stone and Gosling will surprise future audiences with the new heights they reached in playing these roles – expect a lot of dancing, singing, and piano playing of the sort that will warm the cockles of your hearts when it reaches screens across the world this winter.The film tracks a year of their lives and the ups and downs they face as they chase their dreams in a city known for crushing them. In many ways, La La Land circumvents the idyllic circumstances one might expect of a film acknowledging this era, and shines a soft focus on the struggle those who want to work in unconventional jobs often face. Artfully executed, I think that fans of Baz Luhrmann films will enjoy the fantastical sets and occasionally heart wrenching undertones of La La Land.
Peppered with catchy songs, spontaneous dancing, and many witty quips, I’m sure that La La Land will create quite a storm when it hits cinemas on January 13th, 2017 – I believe it has been tipped for an Oscars win and I can well believe they’ll scoop up more than a few.
Here’s to the fools who dream. There are no guarantees of a happily ever after.