La La Land is a 2016 American musical romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Damien Chazelle. It stars Ryan Gosling as a jazz pianist and Emma Stone as an aspiring actress, who meet and fall in love in Los Angeles while pursuing their dreams. The film’s title refers simultaneously to music, the city of Los Angeles, and to the idiom for being out of touch with reality. The movie also stars Rosemarie DeWitt, John Legend, J.K. Simmons, Finn Wittrock, Callie Hernandez, Tom Everett Scott & Damon Gupton in supporting roles.
While stuck in a highway traffic, Mia Dolan, an aspiring actress, has a moment of road rage with Sebastian Wilder, a struggling jazz pianist. After a bad day at work, her subsequent audition goes poorly when the casting director takes a call in the middle of an emotional scene. That night, Mia’s roommates take her to a lavish party in the Hollywood Hills, where Mia hopes for a breakthrough. She walks home after her car is towed. As she passes a restaurant she hears piano playing; Sebastian slips into a passionate jazz improvisation despite warnings from the owner to stick to the setlist of traditional Christmas songs. Moved, she enters the restaurant, but Sebastian is fired for his disobedience. As he storms out, Mia attempts to compliment him, but he brushes her off.
Months later at a party Mia spots Sebastian playing keyboards for a 1980s pop cover band; she teases him by requesting “I Ran (So Far Away)”, a song he considers an insult for “a serious musician”. After the gig, the two walk to their cars, lamenting each other’s company despite the chemistry between them and a nice song & dance scenes. The next day, Sebastian arrives at Mia’s work, and she shows Sebastian around the movie lot, where she works as a barista, while explaining her passion for acting. Sebastian takes Mia to a jazz club, describing his passion for jazz and desire to open his own club. Warming upto each other Sebastian asks her out to see Rebel Without A Cause but she forgets that she has a dinner date with her boyfriend and another couple. Bored at the dinner, she he runs to the theater and finds Sebastian as the film begins. When the projector breaks, the two conclude their evening with a romantic dance at the Griffith Observatory.
After more failed auditions, Mia decides, at Sebastian’s suggestion, to write a one-woman play. Sebastian begins to perform regularly at a jazz club, and the two move in together. Sebastian’s former classmate Keith invites him to be the keyboardist in his jazz fusion band, where he will be offered a steady income. Although he is dismayed by the band’s pop style, Sebastian signs after overhearing Mia trying to convince her mother that Sebastian is working on his career. The band finds success, but when Mia attends one of their concerts she is disturbed, knowing Sebastian does not enjoy their music. During the band’s first tour, Mia and Sebastian get into an argument; she accuses him of abandoning his dreams, while he claims she liked him more when he was unsuccessful. Mia leaves, insulted and frustrated. Sebastian misses Mia’s play due to a band photo shoot that he had previously forgotten. The play is a disaster; few people attend, and Mia overhears dismissive comments. Sebastian attempts to apologize to Mia for missing the play, but she is unwilling to forgive him and ends their relationship. Despondent and unable to pay the theater back, Mia moves back home to Boulder City, Nevada.
Sebastian receives a call from a casting director who attended Mia’s play, inviting her to a film audition. Sebastian drives to Boulder City and persuades Mia to attend. The casting directors ask Mia to tell a story; she sings about her aunt who inspired her to pursue acting. Sebastian, confident the audition was a success, encourages Mia to devote herself to the opportunity. The two profess they will always love each other but are uncertain of their future. 5 years later, Mia is successful as an actress and married to another man and has a baby. One night back in Los Angeles, after dinner out she and her husband the couple stumble upon a jazz bar. Noticing the “Seb’s” logo she had once designed, Mia realizes Sebastian has opened his club. When Sebastian notices Mia in the crowd, he plays their love theme on the piano, and the two imagine what might have been had their relationship worked perfectly. Before Mia leaves with her husband, she shares a smile with Sebastian.
Perfectly acted by the two leading stars, some great songs and music (though jazz isn’t really what I usually listen to), wonderful choreography and cinematography. This is a movie for the ages. It won in every category for which it was nominated at the 74th Golden Globe Awards, with a record-breaking seven wins, and received 11 nominations at the 70th British Academy Film Awards, winning five. It received 14 nominations at the 89th Academy Awards, tying the record for most nominations with All About Eve (1950) and Titanic (1997), and won six Academy Awards for Best Director, Best Actress (Stone), Best Cinematography, Best Original Score, Best Original Song (“City of Stars”, and Best Production Design. I give it a 8.5 outta 10!