In my experience, watching award-winning films is a mixed bag. Some are masterpieces in every way and others leave a person shaking their head (UNFORGIVEN). So I had low expectations when I viewed LA LA LAND.
This is not a review of the movie. It’s a reflection of underlying themes in any work of art.
Appreciation of art is utterly subjective. I will throw my hands up at cubist paintings while another person is deeply moved. I’ll see paint splatters and psych evaluation ink dot images in some impressionistic works while others can easily envision what the artist intended.
So if I’ve already offended you because you loved UNFORGIVEN or hated AMADEUS (an old Academy winner that I especially enjoyed), I apologize. Not for my opinion but that you found it offensive because it was not offered up for that purpose.
This is a story about a girl who wants to be an actress and a boy who is an accomplished musician but has bottomed-out while seeking his dream (of owning a jazz club).
Girl meets boy when she hears him playing the piano at a restaurant when she’s walking by. (I loved that the tune of that song underwrote most of the music for the score. In my opinion, this is composition at its finest.) He’s just been fired for not sticking to the manager’s set list, so he blows by her with hardly a glance.
Later they meet up at a party and it’s the “boy and girl despise each other when they meet” trope in action. Neither of them are looking for love or a relationship and that’s when it blindsides you.
They support each other’s art, but they come to a crossroads where the choice seems to be “career/dream” or “relationship.” He has chosen a career and it isn’t fulfilling him, and her dream lets her down. They part with the assurance “I’ll always love you.”
Five years later, a “chance” meeting sends them spiraling down the path of “what if.” And while it appears they have both “arrived” at their dream, neither of them appears happy.
Dreams can only take you so far.
If you’ve followed me long, you know I’m a middle-aged woman who has only been pursuing her dreams for seven years, and single-mindedly for four years. I am a proponent for never giving up on dreams.
However, I wouldn’t give up my family or my husband if it meant that I had every dream I’ve imagined (best sellers, movie adaptations, million-dollar contracts, etc.)
To me, that is what happened in the movie. Especially for Sebastian. Mia moved on and found another man, had a daughter, although her reaction when she heard him play tells me it wasn’t all golden for her either.
In the “what if” scenario, both of them ended up in the same place–dreams fulfilled–but they were together.
The theme here was about choices and how one can alter everything–for better or worse.
A dream might have a price, but some prices are too high to pay. Each person must decide what the “upper limit” will be for them. Sadly, we might not realize how much we’ve lost until it’s too late to recover it.
A feeling of melancholy accompanied the end of this film. The dreams didn’t seem to bring as much joy to Mia and Seb as their time together. It was a reminder to count the cost, appreciate what you have and live each moment.
Have you seen LA LA LAND? What theme stood out to you? What emotion did the film leave with you?
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