This is director Damien Chazelle’s follow-up to the film Whiplash, which was not a hit in the box office but did surprisingly well with audiences later after its release. To follow it up, Chazelle has created a film that is a tribute to both classic musicals about Hollywood and to the land of the stars itself, including elements of popular films noir that tip a hat to classic films about LA, such as David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive. One trailer for La La Land features the tagline ‘City of Stars’ along with Ryan Gosling playing the piano and crooning the original song, City of Stars. Needless to say, both actors look gorgeous and the rich cinematography captures the lavishness of the setting. The film is set in modern times, although it promises to transport audiences back to an era of romance, mystery, and glamor.
It is advertised as a sentimental date-night movie that is sure to follow the likes of modern hits such as the movie that made Ryan Gosling famous, The Notebook. The plot to La La Land follows a similar line to the usual drama: a man named Sebastian and a woman named Mia fall desperately in love and share all their hopes and dreams with each other, all while struggling to survive and find success together as a jaded jazz pianist and a vulnerable actress in modern-day Los Angeles.
While it may sound like a tired plot line, Gosling and Stone are sure to bring a fresh perspective to this age-old story that audiences are so fond of hearing. In addition, the film is very self-aware of its similarities to others in the genre, such as Martin Scorsese’s New York, New York. The point of this movie is to revisit these common tropes and breathe fresh life into them. It will be surprising if Chazelle doesn’t manage to do just that, and it’s about time that Hollywood put out another truly artistic musical that delights in all the beautiful elements that went into the treasured classics.