by Doward Wilson
La La Land brings us the story of an aspiring jazz musician, Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and an aspiring actress, Mia (Emma Stone) who repeatedly meet and eventually fall in love in Los Angeles. The film received 14 Academy Award nominations including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor (Gosling), Best Actress (Stone), and two nominations for Best Original Song (Audition) and (City of Stars).
The story is spread out over a year's time. The initial meetings between our musician and actress are both disasters but give us some good laughs. Their first encounter ends in minor road rage; their next meeting finds Mia trying to complement Sebastian over his impromptu jazz set as he is being fired for not sticking to the owner's playlist of Christmas music.
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A few months later, Mia finds Sebastian playing in a 1980s cover band, and they end up walking to their cars together and discovering more about each other. Mia takes him on a tour of the movie lot that she works at and explains her passion for acting, and he in turn takes her to a jazz club and shows her why he wants to open his own club. Later they make a date to see “Rebel Without A Cause,” and the romance heats up to the point they move in together.
Still working towards their dreams, Sebastian takes a job as a keyboardist in a friend's jazz band and ends up being on the road touring, then back to the recording studio and then back on the road again. Mia in the meantime has mounted a one woman show and performs it to an almost empty house. The career bombs that they are both following put enough friction into the relationship, that Mia leaves LA to return to her parents home. Before she can settle in, Sebastian is at the door to tell her she has an audition for someone who saw and liked her one woman show. Mia aces the audition and is off to film for several months in Paris, effectively ending the relationship.
The film wraps up with a look at where Mia and Sebastian are five years in the future.
There are many fantastic well done dance and musical numbers which are also visually stunning. The romance is nicely balanced with some comedy and drama. All in all, this was an enjoyable outing combining music, dancing, comedy, and drama into an entertaining experience.
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