In Defense of LA LA LAND

Monday May 1, 2017

After the magnificent failure that was the 2017 Oscar Academy’s Best Picture Awards, a lot of people seem to now talk down on the almost winner La La Land. While being one of the most successful films of 2016- both critically and box office wise, with a 93% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and making nearly twelve times the original budget- the controversy behind the picture is hotter than ever. Some are questioning the validity of its place in the Best Picture category (though it didn’t even win the award), and some are out to denounce the acting ability of its lead actress Emma Stone, who won the Oscar for the category. However, the most talked topic regarding the film La La Land is about the fundamental, thematic element of the story itself- can white people really have such claims on jazz? The film stars Emma Stone, a struggling barista-actress with big dreams, and Ryan Gosling, also struggling as the jazz pianist who dreams of opening up a jazz club one day. There is a scene that sums up people’s problem with the movie, where Gosling’s character Sebastian takes Mia, played by Stone, to a local jazz club after Mia reveals that she doesn’t enjoy jazz. This infuriates Sebastian, a jazz enthusiast, and leads him to give Mia a short lesson on the history, technique, and the current state of jazz. This short scene shows Sebastian’s frustration with where jazz is now, as the genre is dying slowly. Later in the movie, he ends up opening the club, tying it to his earlier claims about the music “dying out”, and it’s presented as if Sebastian single handedly saved jazz music. People’s problem comes with the fact that both Sebastian and Ryan Gosling are as white as...... Read more on Full Issue!

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