film, films, musical, awards season, la la land, ryan gosling, emma stone

The Spellbinding: La La Land

The current Hollywood IT couple (Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling) return for this musical spectator.

We see Mia (Emma Stone) on her way to work, talking on the phone and missing the fact traffic is moving again. Getting beeped by a young man, who drives passed her. She works as a barista at the coffee shop on the studio lot, as close as she can get to the studios for now. Taking auditions and going to big Hollywood parties in the hope of getting a role. She loves the theatre/acting after growing up with family members who loved it. Wanting so much to get her shot at being something better, yet she is always passed over. Someone younger, prettier.

Then we have Sebastian, who is the young man who is in the car behind. He is a jazz musician or was. He lives in a small flat, bills piling up, wanting so much to start his own jazz club. Playing the traditional jazz that he knows and loves so well. Unluckily he keeps being hired to play music that he hates, getting fired when he tries to impress his style of music instead.

We see Mia and Sebastian lurk in and out of each other’s lives a little Sliding Doors like. He pushes past her, ignoring her when she comes into the club hearing him play. So later at a party where he is playing an 80’s keyboarding gig, she asks for a song he will hate just to wind him up. He moans at her over it later and gets pulled back to a second set. Before she meets him again at the end of the party and shouts at him to get her keys for her, so she can escape a conversation with a guy. They end up in a big dance number, saying how much they don’t like each other. Which always means that they really do like each other!

He comes onto the lot to see her later on, and they start talking, getting to know each other and eventually dating. He supports her acting and convinces her to write her own script. The way she wants it to be, so she starts writing a one-woman show. Of course they start dating, but when he goes off touring there is a lot of strain between them. While she is at home preparing for her show. Cracks appear fights and problems. When she tells him he should stop selling out his music and start his club.

This is a spellbinding, amazing film. One that leaves you captivated from the first dance number set around the queues trying to get into town. To the end of the film, where you walk out wanting to go straight back in again. Your emotions on a rollercoaster ride supporting the two in their life choices. Wanting so much for them to each get their dreams, as well as each other.

I see a lot of critics have insulted this film. However I think many of them are missing the point of the production. It isn’t some happily ever after dance flick, if you want that there are plenty already in the marketplace. This is a complex piece, discussing dreams, goals and what you are willing to do to make them happen. Written from a highly realistic point of view. Showing how your choices are to sell out and do things against your ideals just to make money or to hold out and possibly never make it yet stay true to yourself. As well as showing the financial stakes, and cost to your relationships and family.

It isn’t enough to just be a dreamer.

A dreamer has to dream a way to make it happen.

Dreamers shape the world around them, by their choices.

So go ahead and dream.


Sarah Beth James

Owner/ Proud Dreamer.