La La Land is a visual and musical tour de force. Nostalgic, evocative, old-fashioned, classic oeuvre. A throwback to the golden era, harkening Fred and Ginger, classic scenes from Marilyn, Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face, the magnificent An American in Paris, the soundstage from Judy Garland’s last scene from MGM musical Summer Stock Get Happy which in itself is a tragic counterpoint to the sweeping of time of the movie – the what-if in the City of Stars.
La La Land strikes all the right chords – even down to the so perfect jazz references, the Coltrane and Chet Baker photos, to Bird – Charlie Parker, the Miles Davis riff from L’Ascenseur d’echaffaud.
La La Land is a classic boy meets girl off to rocky start, then the connection is made. Mia is an auditioning actress serving as a barista on a Hollywood studio lot, literally down the street from stardom. Sebastian is a talented down on his luck pianist, reduced to playing Christmas classics for the entertainment of the diners. steeped in the roots of jazz. Sad at the demise of classic clubs and hoping to start his own club. Sebs.
“I hate jazz” and the subsequent turnaround of Emma Stone’s character Mia while Ryan Gosling’s Sebastian sacrifices his dream for a new one in its stead, playing in some form of futuristic fusion jazz band led by John Messenger.