Movie Review: La La Land (2016)

I am very late to the party that is loving on La La Land. Obviously there was a lot of hype about it since it won awards, but I finally got around to watching it and it totally lived up to the hype.

It used to be that a movie was not complete without a musical number, but those days have long since died. La La Land felt like an homage to those times when great films included whole scenes being sung and a whole city breaking out into song and dance. Movies like Oklahoma, Sound of Music, and Singing in the Rain. Classics that will forever touch the high school Thespian in me. The mix of musical and jazz was amazing and I was completely surprised by Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone’s singing and dancing abilities. This movie was a true exhibition of their many talents.

Another great thing about this movie was the actual way it was filmed. It really reminded you of one of those old, classic musicals that will forever be great, but it takes place in modern times and they really focused on the colors throughout the whole film. Each scene is filled with eye catching pops of color that are obviously well thought out to coordinate and create basically a work of art! Definitely a feast for the eyes; it is no wonder that it won awards for its cinematography.

Finally, the actual storyline. The movie was about an actress and a musician who are trying to get their careers off the ground in Los Angeles. The keep bumping into each other and soon form a romance where they provide each other with the confidence they each need to make their artistic dreams a reality.

**SPOILER ALERT**

While working towards their goals and dreams, they begin to drift apart, recognizing that they need to go their own ways if they want their dreams to come true, but never because they stop loving each other. At the end of the movie, once they have achieved their dreams, the future has led them away form each other, but they never forget each other. Even though they do not end up with each other in the end, they still recognize the wonderful influence they each were on their lives. There is a wonderful scene where Ryan Gosling’s character plays a song on the piano and they both imagine a future where they did end up together because they loved each other, but in the end she walks away with her husband with just a backwards glance and small smile at him, home to her child and real future.

It has a truly bittersweet ending that you cannot hate, and I love the message that was there. You can have a truly great love that is meaningful and affects your life so completely without it being your future. Sometimes people come into your life for very specific reasons, and when it is time to let them go, you must. Achieving your dreams is possible as long as you believe in yourself, surround yourself with people who believe in you, and take some risks.

I loved this movie so much and am already itching to watch it again and memorize all the lyrics to the songs so I can sing along!

Interested in seeing this movie? Click here to view the trailer!

Book Review: Brave New World

Brave New World has been on my TBR list since high school and I just have never gotten around to it. Sometimes I have a hard time with “classics;” I either love them or I hate them (probably depending on whether it is truly relatable to me). My mom told me about this book after I had read George Orwell’s 1984 (which I thought was amazing and have read a couple of time more since first reading it). Apparently George Orwell was a student of Aldous Huxley (at least according to the Introduction in my version of the book – I did not fact check this, so please let me know if I am wrong), so I thought that I was going to like this book as much as I did 1984. Unfortunately, I did not.

I didn’t hate this book, I just couldn’t really get into it the way I did 1984. The whole premise of the book dystopian in nature and modern society has turned into this place of clones and individuality where it isn’t okay to experience any kind of emotion besides happiness, so the government controls the people by forcing them (but not really because the people want to be happy) to take these pills that make them stay in this constant state of happiness and subordination to the system. One of the main characters begins to question how society is and sets into motion events that make other question what is right and what is wrong as well.

I like the whole idea of the book. And I think that it is very relevant to today and our future society, however I just did not like the writing or the where the plot goes too much. It did not read easily the way 1984 did to me and some of the characters really did just annoy me. I did not feel like there was as much growth from the characters, which I guess could be a kind of criticism on mankind and how growth is usually very limited or even impossible for most people. Call me shallow or naïve or whatever, but I think humankind is not nearly as unteachable as they are portrayed in this book, and I prefer novels that give me hope for the future as opposed to having depressing, abrupt endings.

I probably could be convinced to like this book more, but it just missed the mark for me.