‘La La Land’ breaks the standards of current-day cinema

Caroline Guthrie, Contributing Writer

Damien Chazelle’s new movie “La La Land” signifies the revival of musical theatre in cinema. In recent years, musical theatre has been relegated to the world of Broadway and children’s shows. To the surprise of many, however, the contemporary cinematic musical has captured the complete focus and admiration of the general public and critics alike.

The story follows the lives of two main characters, played by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. Gosling plays a traditionalist jazz musician, while Stone plays an aspiring Hollywood actress. The two work and fall in love in no other place than the “entertainment capital of the world,” Los Angeles. While the film’s content seems to captivate its audiences, it is its uniqueness within the current world of cinema that is truly worth discussing.

The movie successfully broke the standard traditions of contemporary cinema, as demonstrated by its accolades at multiple award shows this season. To name a few, the film won the Producers Guild of America Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture and broke the record of the most Golden Globes ever awarded to a single film, winning seven total, including Stone and Gosling as Best Actress and Actor in a Musical or Comedy Motion Picture, respectively.

The film shows the need for the presence of musical theatre in cinema. Movies today are often lifeless, cliché, and similar to one another. “La La Land” provides the energy, excitement, and charisma that accompanies the art of singing and dancing.

“Movies have kind of been engineered over the century to somewhat reflect reality usually, even if it’s a fantasy or something. There’s some kind of an assumption that things are going to follow a certain order, and musicals just break that. They break it in the name of emotion. That, I think, was a really powerful, beautiful idea to me, that if you feel enough you break into song,” Chazelle said to Terry Gross of NPR’s Fresh Air.

Many are questioning whether this marks the start of an era of traditional movies beginning to incorporate both singing and dancing into their screenplay. The quality of the film will be difficult to replicate in other movies if such a trend continues, but “La La Land” shows that directors and screenwriters are capable of taking an idea for a movie and elevating it to a different cinematic dimension by adding theatrical components.

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