La La Land (film)

La La Land
A man and a woman dancing beside a rather bright streetlight, a city view stretches out behind them. The woman is wearing a bright yellow dress, her partner is wearing a with shirt and tie with dark pants.
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Damien Chazelle
Produced by
Written by Damien Chazelle
Starring
Music by Justin Hurwitz
Cinematography Linus Sandgren
Edited by Tom Cross
Production
companies
Distributed by Summit Entertainment
Release date
  • August 31, 2016 (2016-08-31) ( Venice Film Festival)
  • December 9, 2016 (2016-12-09) (United States)
Running time
128 minutes [1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $30 million [2]
Box office $173.5 million [3]

La La Land is a 2016 American romantic musical comedy-drama film written and directed by Damien Chazelle and starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as a musician and an aspiring actress who meet and fall in love in Los Angeles. The film's title refers both to the city of Los Angeles and to the idiom for being out of touch with reality.

Chazelle wrote the screenplay in 2010 but was unable to find a studio willing to finance it without compromising his creative vision. Following the success of his 2014 film Whiplash, the project was eventually picked up by Summit Entertainment. La La Land premiered at the Venice Film Festival on August 31, 2016, and was released in the United States on December 9, 2016. It has grossed $173 million worldwide against a production budget of $30 million.

La La Land received critical acclaim upon its release, and was regarded as one of the best films of 2016. Critics praised Chazelle's screenplay and direction, Gosling and Stone's performances, Justin Hurwitz's musical score and the film's musical numbers. At the 74th Golden Globe Awards, the film set a record for the most awards won by a single film, winning seven awards: Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, Best Director, Best Actor (for Gosling), Best Actress (for Stone), Best Screenplay, Best Original Score, and Best Original Song (" City of Stars").

Plot

On a crowded Los Angeles highway (" Another Day of Sun"), Mia ( Emma Stone), an on-studio barista and aspiring actress, has a moment of road rage with Sebastian ( Ryan Gosling), a jazz pianist. Her subsequent audition goes poorly despite her efforts. That night, Mia's roommates take her to a lavish party in the Hollywood Hills ("Someone in the Crowd"). She has to take a long walk back after finding that her car has been towed.

During a gig at a restaurant, Sebastian slips into a passionate jazz improvisation despite warnings from the owner ( J. K. Simmons). Mia overhears the music as she passes by ("Mia and Sebastian's Theme"). Moved, she enters at the point when Sebastian is fired. As he storms out, Mia attempts to compliment him, but he coldly brushes her off.

Months later, Mia runs into Sebastian at a party where he plays in a 1980s pop cover band; she teases him. After the gig, the two walk together to find their cars, lamenting being in each other's company despite the clear chemistry between them ("A Lovely Night").

Mia takes Sebastian on a walk around the movie lot, explaining her passion for acting; Sebastian takes Mia to a jazz club, describing his passion for jazz and desire to own his own club. They warm to each other (" City of Stars"). Sebastian invites Mia to a screening of Rebel Without a Cause, which Mia accepts, forgetting an earlier commitment to her current boyfriend. Discontented with that date, she leaves and rushes to the theater, finding Sebastian as the film begins. The two conclude their evening with a romantic dance at the Griffith Observatory ("Planetarium").

After more failed auditions, Mia decides, at Sebastian's suggestion, to write a personal single-actress play. Sebastian begins to perform regularly at the jazz club ("Summer Montage") and the two move in together. A high school classmate, Keith ( John Legend), invites Sebastian to be the keyboardist in his jazz band, which offers a steady source of income. Sebastian is dismayed over the band's pop-oriented style, but decides to sign with them after overhearing Mia trying to convince her mother that Sebastian is working on his career. Mia attends one of their concerts ("Start a Fire") but is disturbed, knowing Sebastian could not possibly enjoy his band's music.

During the band's first tour, Mia confronts Sebastian over his future and goals. Sebastian responds by claiming a steady career is what she wanted for him, before accusing her of liking him more when he was unsuccessful. Insulted, Mia leaves. On the opening night of Mia's play, Sebastian fails to show up due to a photo shoot he had forgotten about. Only a few people attend (including her old roommates) and Mia overhears dismissive comments. Dejected, she leaves Los Angeles and moves back home to Boulder City, Nevada.

One day, Sebastian receives a call from a casting director who had attended Mia's play, inviting Mia to a film audition the following evening. Sebastian drives to Boulder City and persuades Mia to return. For the audition Mia is simply asked to tell a story; she begins to talk then sing about her aunt who inspired her to pursue acting ("Audition/The Fools Who Dream"). Confident that the audition was a success, Sebastian asserts that Mia must devote herself wholeheartedly to the opportunity. They profess they will always love each other, but are uncertain of their future.

Five years later, Mia is a famous actress and married to another man ( Tom Everett Scott), with whom she has a daughter. One night, the couple stumble upon a jazz bar. Noticing the Seb's logo she had once designed, Mia realizes Sebastian has finally opened his club. Sebastian spots Mia in the crowd; both are visibly unsettled. He begins to play their love theme ("Epilogue"), prompting an extended dream sequence in which the two imagine what might have been had their relationship worked perfectly. The song ends and Mia leaves with her husband. Before exiting, she shares with Sebastian one last look and smile.