‘La La Land’ encapsulates what it means to reconcile with the choices we make, bearing witness to outcomes that could have been, and in spite of this, owning our story and making the best of the choices we’ve made. This helps us move on in pursuit of becoming the best version of ourselves.
There’s something about being in Los Angeles and the entertainment industry that always reminds me of the importance of storytelling. And while Tinseltown itself is built on the art of storytelling, it reminded me of how we are all writing our own individual stories. The best stories, I find, are the ones that allow you to aspire to be something bigger than yourself yet they’re also a reflection of your reality. It’s one of the reasons I felt La La Land should have actually won Best Picture. It gives you the fun, the romance, the fantasy but ultimately the story presents a reality few would have expected from what appears to be a musical.
Maybe it was the fact that we watched the opening dance scene several times but my weekend visit in LA, the weekend of the Oscars, felt like a mini version of La La Land.
Saturday was spent catching up with my dance partner and his friends over brunch while the screener DVD for La La Land played in the background and all of us kept bursting into partner dances in the living room at random intervals. What fun! If one scene of my life were a musical that would have been it!
But it wasn’t until Sunday evening at an Oscar party with college friends that I became aware of how my own script is still playing out. Watching others at the party with romantic companions and my university friends now managing squirming kids I thought about how things could have turned out very differently for me.
That moment of retrospect was what resonated for me when watching that same experience happen to the female lead in the third act of the film.
This is where Mia (played by Emma Stone) walks into Seb’s Jazz Bar now owned & operated by her former romantic interest (played by Ryan Gosling #swoon) and sees him on stage about to play a set, his dream of being the club’s owner finally realized. It’s bittersweet because their paths crossed, but they ultimately don’t end up together. And yet, Mia still gets a happy ending with a companion, a family, and a career just not with whom she thought it might all be shared with.
There’s something to be said for a movie that can present this kind of balance to today’s audiences. Indulging our aspirations but also layering in the idea that there can be multiple pathways towards attaining professional success, love and happiness in life. If we’re brave enough to be open to it.
The single reason La La Land should have won Best Picture; it’s a movie about real life. We’re all works in progress but we can change the script. It starts with choosing to show up, be vulnerable, and make the best of the choices we make.
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
She told me
“A bit of madness is key
To give us new colors to see
Who knows where it will lead us?
And that’s why they need us”