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La La Land: a bias review

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Hector Rizo

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This movie was filled to the brim with extreme magical realism, and it isn’t shy about. In fact, this movie thrives on it’s outlandish, fabulous world of cinematic magic — as the opening sequence will demonstrate. I’ve never seen a movie start of with such a BANG — granted I am only seventeen, and I haven’t seen all that many movies. Regardless, it’s opening sequence is pure kinetic pizazz. It is the quintessence of what you think a musical is. It grabs you by the collar and says, “ Look at me. I am Fabulous! “ The music, the dancing, the colors. They are so engrossing, so amazing. And then, like the flick of a switch, the scene ends with a triumphant introduction of the title: La La Land.

 

This flamboyant, fantastic tone is prominent right from the beginning, and remains for the entire film. The movie is fast and color full. When it expresses an emotion it does so to the furthest extreme. At times, it may seem ridiculous but it’s not. You shouldn’t think that because this movie is perfect, and I will find you. Nevertheless, let’s play devil’s advocate. There is a scene within the movie where Mia (a struggling actress) and Sebastian (a pianist, also struggling) dance across the universe. I mean that in the most literal sense possible. Within this movie about making it as an artist in LA, there is an intergalactic sequence and they aren’t wearing helmets. Let that sink in. However, this sequence is one of the most compelling within the whole movie. It emphatically brings the story to triumphant climax. And that is the beauty of this film.

This film never tries to tell a convincing story. It never attempts to emulate reality. Vice versa, it goes out of this way to break the barriers of reality and tell a story through emotions. The film even goes as far as encompassing the most common romance tropes, and it does so consciously. For example, Mia says to Sebastian, “we keep running into each other,” and sebastian replies, “ You think it means something.” Mia nonchalantly responds, “no.” The movie uses these tropes as a vessel to explore the difficulties of fulfilling your dreams and sacrificing part of yourself for something you love. It is extremely colorful and happy, like a cliche romance film. Yet, it uses that as the canvas through which darker, more real elements of humanity can be explored. So, when the film reaches an impactful conclusion, it earns a cathartic reaction.

 

La La Land adopts the tropes that make up blockbuster cinema, and then completely flips them upside down. It is ridiculously imaginative. It is fun. It is impactful. And it is real.

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La La Land: a bias review