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The Importance of Color in La La Land

Rafaella de Britto


In the captivating world of cinema, colors play a huge role in the process of telling a story and engaging the audience. They have the power to evoke profound emotions and truly immerse viewers in the tale. Damien Chazelle's masterpiece, La La Land, is a cinematic composition that shows the power of dreams, love, and the magic of Hollywood. Yet, beyond its mesmerizing songs, amazing choreography, and enchanting plot, the film uses color to tell the story. In this article, we will explore the importance of color in the movie and examine the key scene where color creates a powerful narrative.

One of the most prominent colors used throughout the film was yellow. Yellow symbolizes hope, optimism, and the pursuit of dreams. In the opening scene, Mia is seen with her iconic yellow dress and the warmth of her ensemble shows her aspirations and energy. An example of this is the first musical number "Another Day of Sun". The presence of yellow permeates the screen, from the bright costumes in sunny Los Angeles. The usage of the primary color sets the tone of the film, which establishes the atmosphere of boundless possibilities and sets the scene for Mia's development.

In addition, the film also uses contrasting colors, mainly red and blue. This symbolizes the conflicting personalities and aspirations of the two main characters, Mia and Sebastion. This usage of colors communicates to the audience the struggles the couple faces in their respective paths of trying to make it in the singing and acting industry. But, in a pivot scene in the movie, Mia incorporates Sebastion's signature red in her look. She uses her classic yellow dress while carrying a red purse, which shows her willingness to integrate him into her life.

As the relationship progresses between them, so do the colors of the film. While the colorful and vibrant colors are used to show the joyful and exciting moments between the pair, the muted and monochromatic tones are used to convey heartache and sadness. In the scene located in the Griffith Observatory's planetarium, blue and purple take over the screen. The color scheme represents the turning point of the film, where Mia and Sebastion break up. The cool tones and monochromatic colors create a sense of both melancholy and reflection because of the bittersweetness of their own choices.

Color symbolism is heavily used during the musical number in the movies, the colors and music creating a breathtaking atmosphere that captivates the attention of the audience. Each musical number used a different color palette to intensify the scene. Colors were also used to reinforce the constant themes of the film. In my favorite musical number, "A Lovely Night", Mia and Sebastian dance against a backdrop of a purple Los Angeles skyline at dusk. The choice of color reflects the romantic allure and magic of the moment, as the character finds their connection in the bustling city.

La La Land can show the strong importance of color in cinematography, that the usage of color helps evoke a deeper meaning. The usage of color is able to stimulate emotions and connection between characters to the audience. Additionally, colors are able to capture the character's evolution and mirror their development. Colors play a vital role in enhancing the plot, character development, and emotion.


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