Old School Musical in a New School World

La La Land is a film directed by Academy Award winner Damien Chazelle. And can I please just say, I tip my hat to you. Musicals in film have changed a lot through the years. Majority of the changes have been made to fit the tides of time. Filmmakers have manage to make 'bursting into song' a bit more seamless and less jarring. But not in the case of La La Land. And thank you, Lord! for it.

It is so refreshing to see an old style in a modern world. I love the intense light changes when a song comes in. I love the prolonged dance sequences. The film style in itself. I like how the movie has a retro feel to it, with the colour palette, choice of character clothing, etc. and yet the film is set in the modern times. Chazelle was able to get the audience to sit in this fence between old and new. And another interesting thing is that the narrative in itself mirrors it as well. Sebastian's (Gosling) journey with his musical passion in jazz and how he struggled to accept the evolution of jazz and finds himself immersed with it at the same time. 

There are some narrative hiccups where I was a bit taken a back. An example was the 'break-up' scene of Mia (Stone) with her boyfriend Greg (Wittrock). The scene just plainly showed Mia leaving her boyfriend in a restaurant with nothing but the words, 'I'm sorry, I have to go', which is not usually a line that implies that she is actually breaking things off with her boyfriend.

I like the idea that the movie did not end happy despite the usual norm of a musical that always ends with a happy tone. It may not be as depressing as the end in the film, Into the Woods, the movie still chose not to give the audience the satisfaction to see Stone and Gosling's characters end up together in the end. Another ironic fence sitting is where the audience were presented ideas and narratives that are 'too good to be true' and at the same time be given a raw, realistic ending of a love story.

All in all, La La Land is an amazing film to watch. I appreciate it more having studied and seen the evolution of musicals. I hope a lot of people also appreciate, not just the acting and story, but also the amazingly superb filmmaking.