Not Approved

La La Land

A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles.
Negative Rating
Positive Rating

Dove Review

Life is seen through the dreaming and wonderstruck CinemaScope eyes of director Damien Chazelle in “La La Land.” The title is synonymous with Los Angeles, Mia and Sebastian’s (Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling) city of stars, where they try to make their dreams come true. Chazelle’s film is, by some miracle, a modern fairy tale for the unsung artists of our time, and a grounded look at how reality stifles and tests our plans. Exhilarating, heartbreaking, and altogether alive, “La La Land” is exquisite, and one of the year’s best.

What makes “La La Land” such an enriching experience is how Chazelle structures the film to transition from dream to reality. Mia is an actress, Sebastian a jazz pianist, both artists down on their luck. It is when they find each other that their dreams may come to life.

But it is not so simple. Chazelle recognizes that great art can come at a price and a good deal of sacrifice. The film sobers into a sort of pragmatism, where music and dance numbers are less frequent, and Mia and Sebastian realize the gravity of being artists and lovers at the same time.

The performances are excellent, particularly because Chazelle knows better that Stone and Gosling are our modern day Rogers and Astaire. The music, the incredible cinematography, the costumes and sets all breathe as one, both as a great film and a great musical.

Chazelle writes such a loving letter to the masters before him, from “Singin’ in the Rain” and “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” to Scorsese’s little-known “New York, New York.” Chazelle plays to the audience’s notion of familiarity with film, how images and color tingle our senses and feelings. Chazelle’s complete dedication to the film is why we align with it and even relate to it.

Yet there is almost a redundancy to writing all of this. Mia and Sebastian didn’t care about the critics, and neither should you. See “La La Land” for yourself, and you may just rediscover an old dream of your own.

While this film is rated PG-13, Dove, unfortunately, cannot award this wonderful film our Seal of Approval due to brief strong language and moderate use of alcohol, mostly from secondary characters.

Dove Rating Details






A few kissing scenes between couples; a woman and man are seen in bed, clothed, and they talk; nothing sexual is seen.


GD-2; O/G/OMG-5; swear to G-1; my Lord-1; F-1; S-3; A-4; H-2; D-1; P-1; bloody-1.




A glass of wine is handed off and received while a lyric in a song about needing medication is audibly heard; champagne is poured; people holding drinks; people drink inside a restaurant in a few scenes; people drinking at a pool party; man drinks beer; wine is poured and consumed with dinner; drinking at a jazz club which includes beer and possibly wine; man requests beer with meal; a woman depicted in a painting having wine, and another drink is seen; a song features a lyric about drinking; a picture of a jazz man with a cigarette in his mouth.


A leotard is seen after a woman's dress blows upward; a woman is wrapped in a towel as she comes out of the shower; cleavage in a few scenes; a woman seen in a nightgown; panties possibly seen during a musical number; women in bikinis and men in swim trunks at a pool party.


Tension between characters; woman gives man "the middle finger."

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