[Quick Summary: In modern L.A., an actress and jazz musician struggle with making compromises while chasing their dreams.]
BAD NEWS: I liked it, but didn't love it.
GOOD NEWS: There's a lot going for it. It's focused, full of emotion, and hope.
I especially liked how it shows:
- Success as a slippery slope.
- Seduction is the first step on that slope, and it often is a small, innocent step.
In this story, the main character (Sebastian) wants to open an old school jazz bar of his own. He has resisted modern elements, and is scraping by.
When a modern jazz band offers him big bucks, he reluctantly agrees to meet.
Watch below how success with this band pulls him further from his dream:
ex. "KEITH: Let's play, see how it feels.
He pulls out a guitar. Cole starts on drums. Keith joins in. Malcolm and Tom follow suit. Sebastian listens. It sounds like modern jazz - electronic in feel, but still jazz...
Sebastian approaches the keyboard. Joins --slowly, one step at a time. Then begins playing out a bit more, his fingers starting to race. Malcolm gives Keith a look: "Damn.". Keith gives Malcolm a look back: "I told you so." Bit by bit, Sebastian eases into the groove. This isn't so bad...
Then -- Keith move to a LAPTOP. Introduces a DRUM-MACHINE SAMPLE.
Sebastian, into the music, is caught off-guard. Uneasy now. This isn't him...
Keith plays a riff on his guitar. Tom echoes it on bass, then Malcolm on trumpet. Now it's Sebastian's turn. He hesitates. And then -- finally -- he plays the riff...
It doesn't feel so bad. The guys build on the riff. Sebastian keeps up with them, trying to let go of his presuppositions. [This bolded line is my emphasis. This is why seduction works. How can this small step be harmful?!]
After all --these guys can play ..."
WHAT I'VE LEARNED: Seduction down the slippery slope often begins with one small innocent step...and then another...
La La Land (2016)
by Damien Chazelle