When I saw the trailer for La La Land, the landscape of Los Angeles, the colors, the soundtrack, and the charming message of two idealistic but downtrodden dreamers pushing each other toward their dreams appealed to the romantic in me. As a native Californian, current Oregonian, and now returned college student to LA, the trailer gave me a feeling of magic and nostalgia to the familiar places of my childhood. Grand Central Market, Griffith Park, and of course the infamous 105 freeway were a few that I glimpsed. I went in with neutral expectations when I watched the movie a few days ago and was pleasantly surprised!
Although set in modern-day LA, the movie feels like an ode to classic Hollywood, showcasing Mia: an aspiring actress, and Sebastian a traditionalist jazz musician. Both are running hard after their dreams but have become downtrodden by the struggle to get noticed in the stereotypical Hollywood culture of social climbing, and superficiality. Tinsel Town has lost its shine. Far from being discouraging and cynical, however, Mia and Sebastian’s stories seem to acknowledge the dreamers out there. Their hopes, doubts, struggles, and most of all their passion. If you’re one of those dreamers and creatives who needs some inspiration going into the new year definitely go see La La Land! Even if you’re not a romantic, I’m sure you’ll leave feeling inspired from the magic that this movie offers: an escape into a musical set against the beautiful LA skyline.