City of stars, are you shining just for me?
City of stars, oh there’s so much that I can’t see.
La La Land released just before 2016 ended and was undeniably that little push of faith we needed to step into 2017. I had to wait until the third week of January 2017 to watch this beautiful piece of art by Damien Chazelle because of this thing we call ‘life’ and its ‘lemons’. It would be demeaning to call this movie a piece of art because it has infinite pieces of art woven together as if fire and water weren’t meant to be at war, as if we’d forgotten that little speck of magic inside of us.
The movie opens with a song in the middle of the road, amidst the traffic jam and we get a glimpse of the two leading protagonists of the story – Sebastian and Mia, which is perfect to introduce their characters. There is absolutely no flaw in the frame progression and there wasn’t a single instance where I felt I was in a theatre with 200 more people. I felt like I knew them, the countless pure human emotions that they radiated was so effortlessly portrayed by the actors. It didn’t feel like someone was acting.
As the movie poster so gently suggests – Here’s to the fools who dream, it sticks with the theme until the end. If you can handle yourself during the climax and afterwards, I will personally escort you to hell because that would be a massive lie. The story is not just about two people and their dreams, it’s about what they represent. We’ve watched countless movies based on the struggles of artists – actors, painters, musicians and dancers, but they all seemed to lack something I can’t phrase in a combination of words.
It’s a handy job to inculcate surrealism into a script but Damien Chazelle showed no signs of weakness at all and gave us a gift of a lifetime. Also, we know how well Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone get along from their past movies – Crazy, Stupid Love and Gangster Squad. The movie doesn’t try to sell you anything fictional because they know what you want to see. You’ll laugh, cry, gasp, laugh a little louder than usual and cry some more. Your reactions will never end! If you’re a musical fan, then you’d flip at all the musical references in this movie especially Singin’ in the Rain because it’ll make you nostalgic multiple times. My favourite part is the colours they frequently focus on – lilac, red and yellow, the colour of sunsets and sunrises. That tinge of mellow during an outbreak of a song is too soothing to the eyes, it makes you want to cry for something being so perfect. Another bonus is Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone singing a song from the OST – City of Stars which is a painful heart-warming song. This song is very special between the two and plays in different tones depending on the mood of the scene.
When you happen to reach the ending somehow, they’ll decide to rip out your heart from your system because I felt like something imploded inside my brain. How do you manage to take something so mundane and transform it into something magical? Even the end isn’t the end because they take you for a stroll on a fast-forward clip which will make you feel like someone reached down your oesophagus and clenched your small intestine like it was a soft toy. I kid you not, I haven’t been paid to praise this movie and yet I intend to populate the idea of humanity living on this movie if we’re ever subjected to an apocalypse and we got a choice of living on a movie for eternity. This movie will leave you in tears, or if you’re not a high functioning sociopath unlike me, you’d still be shaken indefinitely.
City of stars, you never shined so brightly.
Written by - Sajida Ayyup