7:00 PM, 4th March, 2017
Mia (Stone) is an aspiring actress who spends her time between auditions serving lattes to movie stars. Sebastian (Gosling) is an idealistic jazz musician making ends meet by playing in dingy establishments.
After opening with one of the most spectacularly choreographed musical numbers ever committed to film, the two meet for the first time stuck in morning traffic on a Los Angeles freeway. It’s far from love at first sight, but of course that’s just the beginning.
Several further chance encounters – and a series of enchanting song-and-dance numbers – convince the dreamers that they are meant for one another. And when they fall head over heels in love, it’s nothing short of magical – both for them and for us. As their careers start to take off and pull them in different directions, however, the film goes from sugar sweet to bittersweet, culminating in a powerful and poignant ending.
Words don’t do this film justice. La La Land is a film to be experienced; to be fully immersed and swept up in. Damien Chazelle has been working on this love letter to old-school musicals for years, but was only able to get it made after the success of Whiplash. And we should be grateful, because the end result is one of the most original and exuberant moviegoing experiences of the year, as ambitious and star-reaching as the characters he’s created. With a record-matching 14 Oscar nominations, La La Land is currently the film to beat in the Best Picture Oscar race, and it’s not hard to see why.
9:18 PM, 4th March, 2017
‘Live every day like it’s your last and someday you’ll be right.’
The story begins in 1935, when Bobby Dorfman (Eisenberg) heads west to Los Angeles to join his Uncle Phil (Carell) who is a successful Hollywood talent agent with Golden Era clients he name-drops at will. Phil introduces Bobby to the world of glitz and glamour, and eventually gives Bobby a minor job and asks one of his secretaries, Vonnie (Stewart), to show him around town.
Naturally, it was love at first sight for Bobby as he was smitten with Vonnie from the moment she stepped into the office. Later, when she told him that she was already attached, it seemed like that was that. (Of course it wasn’t, otherwise it’d be a terribly short movie.)
Café Society is about the romantic roads never travelled and the poignant ways in which change is inevitable. In recounting how a young man finds and loses his first love, director Woody Allen wants to suggest how the mistakes of youth can follow you for the rest of your life. The film is colourful, it’s artistic and it had me fascinated with their romance (or lack thereof) and what future lay ahead for Bobby and Vonnie – even though Kristen Stewart was in the lead with her usual deadpan expressions.
As a side note, to be honest, right till the end of the movie, I had (and still have) no idea what Café Society refers to… please do enlighten me if you know.