Trying something new here and writing about a musical, one which I am more than sure everyone has at least heard of – “La La Land!”
Side note – I’m going to start reviewing movie soundtracks. A soundtrack can really make or break a movie, and I figured I would start with a musical as the music is truly the backbone of the entire experience.
“La La Land” is a movie/musical about two artists living in Los Angeles trying to pursue their dreams in an increasingly tough industry. Ryan Gosling plays Sebastian, a jazz pianist striving to keep classic jazz alive in a modernized world. Emma Stone plays Mia, an actress struggling with her worth in Hollywood after getting turned down from every role she has auditioned for. Is there anything more classically Hollywood than that?
Meanwhile, Mia and Sebastian show each other their respective worlds and fall in love in the process, sharing their dreams and supporting each other in their passions. The movie celebrates the artists in the world who are purely dedicated to the struggles, compromises and experiences life throws at them.
The music in this film is not even remotely close to anything I would usually listen to, but that’s why I think it is so refreshing. The film’s soundtrack centers around jazz and big band sounds, making it seem like it couldn’t have been from this era in music. I wanted to share a few highlights from the soundtrack that perfectly capture each scene in the movie – I will do my best to capture the feeling the song gives without giving away anything major in the film! I also linked any of the scenes with the songs I could find on youtube below each song if you want to check them out. The videos share big parts of the movie, so take that as a warning!
“Another Day of Sun” – The first song and first scene you see of the movie, this song is performed in stand still Los Angeles traffic. The floating melody and fun big band sound, all packed into a scene full of LA citizens dancing on their parked cars, is a ton of fun. The lyrics encapsulate the overarching theme of the film – pursuing your dreams, getting turned down, but not giving up and starting fresh the next day. This is a message every single person can relate to and should take to heart.
“City of Stars” – The most simple song, reprised multiple times in multiple ways throughout the film, is beautiful. The lyrics capture love, longing, and oddly a sort of sadness. It shares the feelings of happiness, feeling like everything is coming together, but all while being cautionary to ensure it doesn’t slip away.
“Audition/The Fools Who Dream” – Emma Stone performed this song live during filming this scene, adding to the vulnerability and life it brings to the film. Her character sings this song about her inspiration for becoming an actress, and gives a head nod to all the dreamers in the world. As the lyrics say, “here’s to the ones who dream, foolish as they may seem,” there’s nothing foolish about her character in this moment.
“Epilogue” – This composition lays out my favorite moment in the entire film. I don’t want to spoil it because it’s quite emotional and gives a sneak peak into the “what could have been” version of life. This piece shares a snippet of every big musical moment in the film, all performed as a jazz band instrumental. It captures every feeling the movie delivered the entire time, all in 7.5 minutes. “Epilogue” is the perfect example of how a song influences a scene. Every moment in the song perfectly captures the feeling and mood of what is shown on screen.
Everyone should check this film out. I think the message it shares is incredibly relatable and the music is beautiful. Also, if you have HBO it’s free on demand!