US TEAM - ONE FOR YOU
[SPOILER ALERT: It is not possible for me to discuss how much I enjoyed this film without discussing the ending. If you haven't seen La La Land, I suggest bookmarking this and reading it after you've seen it as well.]
As the title of this article suggests, I wholeheartedly agree with the Hollywood Foreign Press that La La Land, this year's Golden Globes winner of a record seven awards, deserved Best Picture Comedy or Musical.
A story about an inspiring actress, Mia, and struggling jazz pianist, Sebastian, (played by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, respectively) as they fall in love and support each other in pursuing their dreams, this film exhibited such a wide array of emotions, from light and flirty to heart-wrenching, that truly capture you by surprise.
Put another way: I've actually seen this film twice already since it's recent release this past Christmas Day and I'm a mom, which tells you I haven't done such an extravagant thing since my 8-year-old son was born.
But La La Land managed to capture me repetitively for 3 reasons.
#1 - Emma Stone
Now, don't get me wrong. I've been a fan of Ryan Gosling since The Notebook in 2004 and I equally admired him and his performance in La La Land.
But being a woman - who also happened to move to LA to pursue her dream of becoming a screenwriter in the tough, competitive world of show business - I connected deeply with Mia's journey.
I also adored how carefree Stone played Mia. She didn't hold back but rather dove deep into all the layers of emotion that were brought to light within the story. Her every expression, whether it was a moment of embarrassment or a tearful goodbye, felt pure, real and uninhibited.
Although Stone is clearly a beautiful woman, she didn't lead with her beauty like so many leading ladies often do. Instead, she led with her soul, which made her and her performance even more beautiful.
#2 - The Diversity
Besides the decidedly bright costumes symbolizing the hopes and dreams of every creative artist who packed up their bags to try to make it in Hollywood, this film was also cast with a diversity of races, genders, shapes and sizes that truly reflect the diversity of Los Angeles' current citizenry. And that made me love it even more.
#3 - The Ending
A love story that takes place within Hollywood must have a classic Hollywood ending where the lovebirds stay together happily ever after, right?
La La Land takes us by surprise when we fast-forward five years later in the end of the story. We quickly learn that Sebastian was right. Mia does become a big movie star but we're surprised - even heartbroken - to discover she is now married and has a child with another man.
Out on a date night with her hubby, they happen upon Sebastian's Jazz Club and once these two old flames make eye contact, we know that they still do love each other after all these years.
Besides the fact that Mia and Sebastian not ending up together made for a big surprise, I loved the ending because it felt modern and fresh to me.
The fact of the matter is forever isn't for everyone. Sometimes we have people that we love dearly end up being in our lives for a reason or a season. It was great to see a story about that instead of it always having to be about finding "the one."