Saturday, January 7, 2017

La La Land

A few days ago Eva and I went to see La La Land at the movie theater, and something about this movie made me want to write about it, because this is really something else. Something never seen in any (Hollywood) production before, and that is quite refreshing. Although I do not think it is a flawless movie, it surely made me laugh, cry, and most importantly: think. And that's what makes a movie great: when it is able to ride along on your mind outside the movie theater, even days after the credits had gone from the screen.

La La Land is a so-called 'musical film', although it is quite different from the musical films that I grew up with: Grease, Hairspray, High School Musical... For one, La La Land is set up in a more realistic way: songs and dances are a lot less dramatic (making this movie probably appealing to a broader audience), the story has a certain depth and is more relatable (except for the fact that the main characters are talented and handsome people living in always sunny LA) - they feel things that we can well imagine to feel, and perhaps this is only because the feelings of the main characters are so well transferred to us by the acting skills of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. And even though the movie sometimes generates nostalgic feelings because of the shots in retro LA and Sebastian's (Ryan Gosling) old timer car, this movie is pretty modern (but thank god they didn't exchange phone numbers - so Sebastian can't text Mia (Emma Stone) to ask where she's at when he's waiting for her at the movie theater, because that would've totally ruined it).

La La Land is especially different from other musical films in that it is, in between the occasional singing scenes, almost too much like a non-musical movie. So much that it sometimes surprised me when they started a new song! Maybe that's because a new song often didn't start with a tune, but with one of the actors going smoothly from talking to singing, at first without background music. La La Land also got me wondering what would've happened if they didn't cast Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling to play the lead, but someone (perhaps less famous) who is skilled at singing, acting and dancing all together. On the other hand, it did suit the movie that the main characters were not flawless in singing and dancing - emphasizing the fact that they are quite normal people just like you and me (and of course Ryan Gosling is so cute ohmygod).

This film tells the story of two people who both dream big and who happen to run into each other. At first it appears that they are made for each other, supporting each other and each other's dreams unconditionally. But what if those dreams are about to fall apart, or worse, what if those dreams are about to come very, very close to reality? It soon is a matter of choosing between love and your dreams. And this is something that really got me thinking: would I give up my own dreams to support my other half in making his dreams come true? I probably would want to adjust my dreams if his dreams would benefit me in some way, but I'm not sure what is more important. We all want love, that's a fact, but should we give up everything for love from a certain person? For a long time I believed love was there so we do not feel alone in this life, but now I realize even more that love is about making you feel as if you are not alone in this life, it is not substitutionary. And choosing for your dreams instead of love doesn't mean you will exclusively have your dreams and not love, because you'll most likely be able to find love somewhere else, which is, from someone other than you'd expected. Also, loving someone does not equal being with that someone, and you could well love someone quietly and distantly while going after your own dreams.

Another thing that this movie got me questioning: what if you're making progress to achieve your dreams, and you don't succeed? When do you decide that you won't succeed and that you should give up? Should you give up before it's too late and you have wasted your life on literally nothing, and choose for a life without your dreams but perhaps with greater happiness than when you keep chasing your dreams unsuccessfully? Or should you go on as you never know what life will bring and perhaps your dreams are closer than you'd thought? This may not apply for all dreams, but it certainly does to Mia's dreams in La La Land. She wants to become a Hollywood-actress and keeps going to auditions even though she never had success for six years long. Imagine she would go on for six more years, unsuccessfully, finally finding herself in the middle of her 30s, still working at the coffee shop, living from a minimum amount of money each month, (dramatically) exclaiming: what have I done to my life! That would be a terrible thought. Would she have been better off if she had played it safe, gave up her acting career and go for something where she would surely find herself a job and build a quiet but reasonably happy life instead? These are all things that do very well apply to my own life right now: I'm almost 20 years old, I have dreams that are not without risk (in that there is a great chance they will not be achieved), and I'd give myself ten years to chase those dreams, even though I have no clue which path is the right one to follow. What if I fail, and I waste ten years of my life, and still be nowhere? Should I focus less on those dreams and more on what comes to my path, take it for what it is, and focus on little things that will be more likely to guarantee a satisfying life? Being this age is scary - I'm too aware of the shortness of life, and I'm too scared to waste my young years. I wish it was my dream to become something for which there is a single and obvious path. I wish I would want to become a dentist, so I would know what to do - study the crap out of me, find a job and put "dentist" in my job description on LinkedIn. But there's no course in college that will lead me to where I want to be, there's no recipe to give me the success that I wish to have. There's only chances and luck and insecurity. I wish I was a child again, when I was able to dream without thinking about the practical issues, and when I would be praised for my ambitiousness instead of prayed for because of my stubbornness in that I would not just go for the decent future that is mostly guaranteed by the goddamn brain that God or whoever blessed me with. Once again a grownup child finds out that literally everything she took for truth in her childhood world turns out to be incredibly complicated in the grownup world (I fairly hope that all these thoughts are just part of some stupid quarter-life crisis so they will all be gone/accepted as soon as the supposed quarter-life crisis is over).

In La La Land the realistic setting of the movie sometimes changes, and we suddenly find our main characters floating in a surreal dimension. At first I thought this was strange and didn't quite fit in the movie, but now I think that is exactly what dreams are: they are sudden interruptions of reality, of which we are not sure if they exist, or ever will.

I would recommend La La Land to all. Anyone should see it, no matter if it's for beautiful views of LA, for the happy songs and dances and beautiful piano music, for nostalgic feelings, for psychedelic dreamlike scenes, for Ryan Gosling, for balling your eyes out, or for consideration.

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  1. Oeeeeh! Zo leuk! Ik ga donderdag naar deze film. Ik ben echt heel benieuwd! :D Ik hou van dit soort films!

  2. De film klinkt zo leuk! Zelf houd ik wel van musical films, maar soms wel een beetje heel overdreven, dus dan is dit echt perfect! Nu wil ik 'm echt zekerweten zien!

  3. Oh my, can't wait to see the movie now!

  4. Zo benieuwd naar deze film!

    Sarah x

  5. Ik ben onwijs nieuwsgierig naar deze film, snel eens gaan zien!

  6. Klinkt goed, deze zou ik wel willen zien!


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