This musical about a passionate jazz musician and an aspiring actress chronicled in the events of the year they meet and fall in love in Los Angeles, at a time when they are chasing the dreams they have been struggling to reach. The film won seven staggering awards at the Golden Globes, and was marked as one of the most notable films in 2016.
STARRING: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, JK Simmons, John Legend
DIRECTED BY: Damien Chazelle
WRITTEN BY: Damien Chazelle
MUSIC BY: Justin Hurwitz
RELEASED BY: Summit Entertainment
PLOT: 4/5 face value, 2.5/5 if my inner nerd kicks in
Aspiring actress and jazz musician meet and fall in love in a nostalgic version of LA, complete with stories of struggle, and charming musical numbers.
Face value, it was a great movie. It made me cry, mostly because I have my own version of knowing how it feels to not be able to end up with my soulmate. (Part of the reason I was crying during the movie was the fact that I just knew so-so would have loved to watch it too). It’s sad, it’s nostalgic, it’s endearing. It made you hope, it made you wish, it made you believe in a better world with considerably less traffic and less talk of kale.
Mostly, it appeals to the people who wear their hearts on their sleeves and who look at the world through-rose colored glasses.
It is also a white-washed version of Hollywood with amazing lack of diversity. Considering how jazz originated from Blacks, it is sad to note that the only black person in the cast was a washed-up musician who sold out.
Also, LA is one of the most expensive cities to live, there is no way an aspiring actress who is a barista by day could afford that amazing apartment at the beginning of the film AND a Prius. Seriously.
Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling look good together. They are beautifully awkward and endearing, and despite not being actual singers, they made it work in a musical (just, you know, don’t expect five-octave ranges or anything of that sort). However, lost points due to previously mentioned lack of diversity. LA is one hell of a melting pot and it didn’t show. Also, it needed more JK Simmons.
I grew up listening to jazz on Sunday mornings and on road trips (hi, dad!) so I pretty much got an ear for it, although I’m not one to research on the names of musicians and song titles (believe me I can’t name the albums and song titles and musicians in my favorite bands!). While I love the jazzy parts of it, my biggest disappointment is the fact that Sebastian’s (Gosling) song is…well, not actually jazz as he defined and fought for in the movie.
Still great for easy listening, though.
CHECK OUT THE TRAILER: