The Louisville Cardinal

‘La La Land’ captivates audiences in theaters

By Brooke Moody–

“La La Land” graced U.S. theaters back in December and has since won a record seven Golden Globes and received 14 Oscar nominations. The film warrants the praise surrounding it, even though it flew mostly under the radar until recently.

It wasn’t until early January that my coworker began recommending I see the movie.

After he insisted multiple times that it would become my new favorite movie, I went to see it. And “La La Land” didn’t disappoint.

The film follows Mia, an aspiring actress played by Emma Stone, and Sebastian, a jazz pianist played by Ryan Gosling, as they chase their dreams in Los Angeles, falling in love along the way. Based on the synopsis, “La La Land” could be dismissed as just another romantic comedy, but mediocre rom-coms don’t set records for Golden Globes and Oscars.

Director Damien Chazelle executed a passion-filled musical that harks back to the 1930s without the cliches that typically accompany dancing in the streets and monologues sung in the mirror.

“La La Land” exhibits brilliant screenwriting, mostly foregone in the past decade for trite pickup lines, predictable temptations and flat protagonists.

Throughout the film’s two hours, Mia and Sebastian’s characters evolve as the young artists realize themselves, their dreams and their futures, nailing the definition of truly dynamic characters.

The film’s cinematography also represents elegant and striking camera work. Scenes in the movie were captivating and dazzling, reminding me of seeing “Life of Pi” on the big screen for the first time, yet this film is not confined to the sea.

The best part of “La La Land,” though, was its ability to render escapism through its plot, characters and filming.

I wasn’t expecting to be whisked away while watching the film, but as the credits rolled, I felt as though I had been in a completely different time and place. In a time of unrest and uncertainty, a two-hour, beautiful and emotionally moving escape may be just what audiences need.