Why Everyone's Going Crazy Over La La Land

Below are minor spoilers for the movie La La Land. We suggest you go see it before reading this article.

La La Land seems to be the movie everybody's talking about this season. With seven Golden Globes and now no less than fourteen Oscar nomniations, I'm betting at least one person has raved to you about how great it was. A slew of friends and family have gushed to me about the music, the acting, and the cinematography. By the time I got around to watching it, I was pretty sure it was just going to be a fun, glitzy throwback to the great musicals of the 1920s-40s. And it is...with a lot of extra elements thrown in that make it something special.

To start off with, La La Land isn't just a throwback to the Golden Age -- it's a film spun around nostalgia. The movie paints a picture of a charmed, vintage Los Angeles full of a whirlwind of beautiful people wearing beautiful costumes creating epic dance numbers, as in "Another Day of Sun" (listen on YouTube here). It mixes reality with the fantasy of big-budget musicals from the era: what if all women dressed like Ginger Rogers, but cell phones were still around? It also plays off the audience's nostalgia. Everyone takes different paths to get to where they are, and everyone wonders about that one path they didn't follow and where it would have led them. If you've ever had to make a choice bewteen your career and your family, between your love and your passion, between your past and your future, then it will be hard not to relate to the movie's characters.

Speaking of the characters, I'm not afraid to admit that Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling baffled me as choices for musical leads. But their heartachingly honest, live singing and dancing performances weren't about perfection -- they demonstrated feeling and narrative, and gave the film authenticity that couldn't have been achieved with pure showmanship. The acting performances were stellar as well. Somehow the balance of the playful bickering and tap dancing of the couple's blissful "Summer" sequence and the realism that "Fall" brought with their first fight kept the characters likeable, and once again, contributed to the the film's genuineness. And I think that's what has made so many people fall in love with it, i.e: how real it is, how relatable, and how balanced it's with its idealistic romanticism. It is absolutely unabashed in its silly, grand-gesture moments, but the bittersweet ending montage reminds us that there are always choices to be made, and accompanying consequences.

To me, that bittersweet ending was beautiful and satisfying, but that doesn't mean that I didn't cry.

Do you agree with all the buzz about the film, or do you think it could be maybe a little overrated? Let us know below!

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