(Photo courtesy of www.lalaland.movie)
Loving ‘La La Land’
By Sarah Komisky
“Here’s to the ones who dream/Foolish as they may seem/Here’s to the hearts that ache/Here’s to the mess we make”
“Audition (Fools Who Dream)” – La La Land
Dreamers. Trailblazers. Visionaries. They’ve always seemed to catch my attention, maybe because I am one. From the artists to the athletes, musicians to movie makers, I am most intrigued when it comes to those who live outside the box. This is why this year’s Oscar sweeping La La Land has been such a treat for me. Not only was the vintage throwback, the bright cinematography, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone’s acting performance, the song and dance routine and the script itself epic, but also the message. While there are things that I don’t agree with when it comes to Hollywood, I think they absolutely got it right this time around.
If you haven’t caught it yet, the arching theme in La La Land is all about dreaming big (spoiler alert, if you haven’t seen the movie, you can opt out now if you don’t want to read the details, but if you don’t mind, please stick around!) In a nutshell, Emma Stone’s character, Mia, is a young, ambitious actress trying to make a break in L.A. On the other side, Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), is a struggling musician trying to stay true to who he is, an old-fashioned jazz pianist. Paths collide, and the two help each other live out their dream.
While Sebastian sells out at one point to join a band that is not his style, he feels pressure to “grow up” and find a steady job. Mia on the other hand, becomes disillusioned when call backs fade, her staged play has low attendance and is the object of ridicule. In this hazy situation, Mia questions Sebastian if he loves what he does and Sebastian in turn, pushes Mia to not give up, standing by her side through her audition where she sings, “Audition (Fools Who Dream).”
Not only do I love that the movie doesn’t portray life to be easy, but I love that struggle is very real. Mia hits traffic, spills coffee on a audition day, doesn’t get a call back, meets no one at a party and gets snubbed by a guy she finds interesting. A girl gives Sebastian an unkind gesture on the freeway, he becomes unsatisfied at his job, gets fired at Christmas and results to playing for an 80’s cover band to pay the bills. All this is before the two truly begin to form a relationship. And, as many who see it find out, the relationship with all its moments of bliss has its moments of heartache. Both characters fight through and prevail to achieve their dreams in the end. Yet, tension remains at the helm of this film and is a great illustration of what tension can do for us.
Like the movie beautifully and authentically portrays, dreams are worth fighting for. Like the characters of Mia and Sebastian, we too might press on to achieve them and like these two characters, we can’t let others minimize our goals.
Another important facet of the movie I loved is Mia and Sebastian’s mutual respect for each other’s dreams and their desire to support one another to attain them. While there were some things about their relationship I didn’t agree with (like how fast it moved, how Mia fell for Sebastian while dating another guy or the fact that they moved in together), I can say that this aspect of their relationship was encouraging. The two believed in one another and spurred each other on was truly a beautiful picture of what relationship should look like. Although Mia didn’t initially like jazz, she supports Sebastian (even designing his future jazz club logo). Sebastian drives all way to Nevada to tell Mia she got a call back and sacrificially lays down his relationship so Mia can be an actress. Both characters display unselfishness and fidelity, checking each other when things aren’t right and cheering each other on to be a better version of themselves. The impact they made on each other is defiantly seen in the film and one that is a noteworthy example for good relationships.
Despite minimal language (mostly at the beginning), the good absolutely outweighs the bad in this film. Masterfully, the film beckons the viewer to take an honest look at their lives. With smiles and tears, audiences experience the rise and fall that ultimately inspires them to be the Mia and Sebastian they are called to be where they are free to dream once more.