‘La La Land’: musical dream and the reality of relationships

La La Land, Illustration by Brittany Richmond

The Rio Cinema on Kingsland High Street, the art deco pride of Dalston and favourite of London film lovers, could not have provided a more perfect setting for Damien Chazelle’s homage to the golden age of musicals.

Set against the backdrop of the Hollywood hills, the film revolves around Mia, a young struggling actress (Emma Stone) and Sebastian, a young struggling musician (Ryan Gosling). In many ways, their story is age old. Boy and girl meet. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy and girl try to manage their relationship while simultaneously striving to achieve their respective dreams and deal with the disappointments and setbacks which go hand-in-hand with being a small fish in a huge, overwhelming, glamorous pond. Yet, there is nothing too clichéd, nothing too saccharine about this sun-drenched Los Angeles romance. And herein lies the intelligence. Chazelle, who both wrote and directed the film, strikes a perfect balance between old and new, idealism and pragmatism, dream and reality.