This is the first time I watched a Hollywood musical and I must confess that I don’t know how to review a Hollywood musical. Though I review Bollywood musicals all the time (for almost all Bollywood movies are musicals), I am finding out that trying to review a Hollywood musical is difficult.
Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are struggling artists trying to make ends meet in Los Angeles. They bump by chance into each other again and again- on a crowded flyover as Emma’s car blocks Ryan’s car, in a restaurant where Ryan plays piano, in a poolside party where Ryan is playing music and they begin to go out together, trying to help each other in their respective careers.
Emma is a wannabe actress, but her initial attempts at auditioning all fail. But Ryan is the one who eggs her on to not quit but keep on trying. Ryan wants to start his own jazz club, but he has to initially accept being part of a musical group (led by John Legend) which does not play music the way he wants it to be played. But he joins because he gets regular pay. The couple fight over this and temporarily break up because Ryan does not find time to show up for Emma’s show.
They come together again but this time a more solid reason comes up for them to break up- they are finding success in their respective careers and both have to go their respective ways. When they see each other years later, their emotions are filled with nostalgia. They imagine in their mind’s eye how life would have been if they had chosen to stay together and had children and there is some regret for having to chose career over love. But such is the reality of life that there is a price that has to be paid for achieving success.
Some of the music is pure romantic fantasy, like the scene in which they go to a astronomical observatory at night and a song is filmed with them dancing among the stars in the sky. Acting is good too and photography is decent. J K Simmons’ role in the film however is forgettable. I kind of liked the movie, though not as much as the critics who are gushing over it.