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La La Land is a 2016 romantic romance film about a singer, Sebastian, and an aspiring actress, Mia. Their experiences take place in Los Angeles, where the two are attempting to fulfill their visions of success. The film has gained universal recognition from critics, as well as winning every category in which it was nominated at the Golden Globes Awards. This film also makes heavy use of a musical perspective, which is essential in catching the audience's attention in the way it is employed strategically in the film. It is considered to be one of the best films of recent years. After watching it, one cannot help but remember the wonderful melody that was incorporated into this movie. Through a comprehensive analysis of this film, it is evident that the film has acquired its immense recognition due to its style and content, themes, and use of mise-en-scene.
To start with, the film is successful in realizing a perfect incorporation of style and content, which is based on an old-fashioned musical concerned with the good and bad experiences of a love story that finds it difficult to remain in tempo. Love and care are also used to describe Los Angeles and the unabashed dreamers that inhabit this city’s environs. This musical uses every longstanding approach starting from having a cinemascope placard illustrating the commencement of the film. Additionally, camera irises are seen to change over in and out of the scenes in addition to having an exceptional dream ballet. Therefore, even though the film is independent, it borrows a lot from the conventional style of a classical musical produced in Hollywood. This stylized movie is successful in delivering a reality-bending depiction of Los Angeles.
An exciting energy is experienced throughout the movie. The two leading roles meet in a traffic jam. Nevertheless, their encounter develops into a spiraling primary colored dance routine. From that point, they cannot cease to run into each other at different locations in town. Finally, they connect while watching Rebel Without a Cause together resulting in everything seeming to fall in its rightful place. However, their new-found love is short lived when Sebastian has to accompany his new band on tour whereas Mia is fully engrossed in her one-woman show. Hence, they are pulled in diverse directions. It leads to the audience questioning whether their passion could supersede such difficulties and make it work. With time, Sebastian and Mia have to make a choice of either each other or their careers. Nonetheless, the two love each other but are uncertain of where the future would take them.
Even though the movie is a musical, it does not have every piece of dialogue being expressed in song and dance. The two leading roles are allowed to have natural and raw voices, which are imperfect and unpolished. In so doing, their depiction augments the authenticity of these characters. By not making them sound like exceptional pop stars, the audience gets to perceive them as real people. Even though the movie culminates in a bittersweet reality, it is still a joyous celebration, which warrants its classification as a classic. Watching it can only be described as an exceptional experience besides such movies being rare in the contemporary world.
Secondly, some themes are distinct in this film. The first one is that of love. Sebastian and Mia encounter each other on the streets of Los Angeles, and they soon fall in love with each other. Their love is seen in the way they want to see each other succeed. Sebastian urges Mia not to give up on her acting career. He tells her to write her own play when she fails to secure a role in the many auditions she attends. Even when she goes back to Nevada, he follows her there when he receives a phone call from a casting director who was interested in her. Sebastian encourages her to capitalize on the opportunity. Mia also proves to love him since she is unhappy seeing him abandoning his dreams to join a band in which he does not enjoy playing their kind of music.
Another theme is that of chasing one’s passion even when one has to make compromises to achieve it. Mia is situated as the movie’s beating heart. She is determined to become an actress and playwright. In the meantime, she is content being a Barista waitress until she can get her big break. However, to realize this dream, this strong-willed dreamer must turn away from her love even though it immensely hurts her to do so. She still remains hopeful that things could work out. On the other hand, Sebastian is a classy and suave partner that perceives himself a serious musician that would like to one day open his own jazz bar. Until the day he can achieve his objective, he has to perform part-time to survive. Soon, Sebastian joins a band even though it does not correspond to his music since it pays well. Nevertheless, at the end of the movie, he has succeeded in running his own jazz bar thus having the capacity to reawaken the glory days that were associated with jazz. In the end, it is clear that to realize their passions, they had to forego on being together.
An additional theme is that of staying true to oneself. At the beginning of the movie, Sebastian is adamant to improvise his playing of jazz in the way he would like it played. He had already been given warnings by the owner thereby when he does this he is fired. Throughout the movie, he is seen as a man that has an immense passion for this genre. Mia even reprimands him for playing in a band that he does not derive enjoyment. She even claims to have liked him when he was unsuccessful since he was his true self at the time. Also, Mia is very passionate about acting. Her desire is not driven by the glamor, but she derives her motivation from the scope of creativity that exists in this field. In so doing, the two leading roles eventually realize their dreams.
Moreover, the concept of mise-en-scene has also been employed in this film. The casting was quite exceptional since the actors, primarily the leading ones, were successful in making the movie a great one. Sebastian and Mia had a great chemistry besides doing a good job of singing well. The dancing that was present throughout the movie was also excellent. Also, the city of L.A is depicted in a way that it symbolizes the third lead in this musical. This city is illustrated in a way portraying it to be alive with possibility and romance. Thus, the different sites that are used help in supporting the different themes. The movie is successful in depicting it in a unique way on the screen. Hence, the musical film can be seen as a love letter to this magnificent film.
Additionally, the film adopts a visual style of storytelling in the way the content and mood are illustrated. The first thirty minutes are characterized by energized song and dance sequences, which are filled with vibrant colors besides seeming superfluous and exaggerated. It appears that the camera is never static because of it being in constant shifts in the way it revolves around. Even in the typical scenes, visual cues are applied to augment the standing out of the protagonists from the rest. For instance, when Sebastian is playing Christmas carols, the background seems to recede whereby he is shown as if he is playing the soulful music alone instead of playing it for the crowd or manager’s desires. In another scene, Mia appears in a yellow dress, which contrasts her from the other girls that are in bikinis while at a pool party.
In conclusion, a comprehensive analysis of La La Land has been instrumental in showing the reasons for the movie acquiring the massive recognition it has, primarily due to its style and content, themes, and use of mise-en-scene. The film depicts a romantic drama between Sebastian and Mia. Their encounters are based in Los Angeles where the two try to realize their dreams. Firstly, the film successfully incorporates style and content by adopting an old fashioned style. Secondly, some themes are distinct in this movie including love, the pursuit of one’s passion, and staying true to oneself. Moreover, the concept of mise-en-scene has also been employed in the movie. They include casting, the depiction of L.A, and the visual storytelling.
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