*Warning spoilers alert*
Recently I went to see the 14-Oscar award nominated film, Lala Land. I hadn’t actually heard much about it or seen the trailer; being the un- (pop)cultured person I am; so went in with no expectations. I hadn’t read the synopsis and had no idea what the film was about except that it was a musical and had the famous actor Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as main cast.
Lala Land tells the story of two strangers Mia and Sebastian, who come together on an adventure of a lifetime chasing their dreams. Set in LA, Los Angeles otherwise known as “Lala Land”; a land of opportunities for wishful dreamers who dream of becoming singers, actors and actresses on the silver screen; the pair embark on their journey that takes them far, far away from the realities of their own lives.
The plot is typical of a romance film where two strangers meet by some fate and fall in love, the nature of the story; sweet and endearing, simple enough to follow.
The theatricals with picturesque cinematography is wonderful; from the scenes of Emma and Ryan waltzing gracefully amongst stars in the vast night sky above the Griffith Observatory; a world away, to the pair tap dancing leisurely against the backdrop of city lights of Los Angeles
Emma is delightful in her character with her sweet and soft voice and Gosling, likeable and charming as ever, although not the greatest singer. The musical’s songs are sweet and tender rather than loud and boisterous, with the Oscar-nominated best song “City of Stars”; a heart-felt and reflective rendition.
Lala Land depicts a carefree, magical kind of love, romanticising chasing dreams.
The movie alludes to how we are drawn to people who reflect ourselves – Mia and Sebastian; both dreamers with big dreams but unhappy with where they are in their lives; form a special bond. On their own they are stuck in a rut living their uninspired, mundane lives but together they have the power to empower one another to make their dreams a reality. Sometimes love changes us and help us find ourselves, bringing out the best in us but really, we were always that person. It’s only that in someone else believing in our greatest potential; that we become our best selves.
The film is cyclical in nature, filled with common themes, symbolism and open to interpretation. For example, Mia herself becomes the woman who once astounded her – the famous, esteemed and loved actress; who buys coffee from an unassuming local, little coffee shop where Mia works; turning heads as she walks in. By the end of the film, that is Mia. She followed her heart became the person she wanted to be.
The ending is bittersweet, both romantic and heart-breaking like a daydream you don’t want to wake up from.
In the film, they parted just like how they met. After a party, Mia walks home in the dark along city streets of Los Angeles when she hears a beautiful song in the distance that captivates her, and so she walks towards where the music is playing from. It leads her to Sebastian. He is playing the piano in a crowded restaurant full of people, unaware of her presence by the door. Years later, when they have long gone their separate ways and led different lives, they meet again in a bar, this time the bar he now owns. She looks up at him playing the piano from her seat amongst the crowd, mesmerized, the same way she looked at him when she first heard him.
There are two endings – the version where they follow their dreams, have a family and grow old together, and live happily ever after – the version most of the audience were probably hoping for. And the reality – they part ways and lead separate lives but end on good terms.
At the very end of the film, she takes one final look at him before she is about to leave the bar and he looks up at her from the piano. Their eyes meet and they smile as if to acknowledge the deep connection that once bound them together, transcending time, lasting an eternity.
Lala Land is a happy, uplifting film with a feel-good liveliness despite the ending. It offers an inspirational perspective of a life possible for those who dare to dream. It gives you hope that one day you too can live in a Lala Land of your own.
Regardless of whether you think Lala Land worthy of 14 Oscar nominations or not, I think we can all take something from the film Lala Land and that is, to live life, we must love life. Follow your heart for hhappiness is where the heart is.
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