(Photo Courtesy of Lions Gate Publicity, Photo Credit: Dale Robinette)
The opening scene of La La Land was exactly what I wanted to happen when I was in middle school.
I wanted my fellow students to jump on top of their desks and dance in an in sync, yet unrehearsed manner. And then, somehow magically, I too would develop the voice similar to that of The Little Mermaid. I would holler out of a showstopper.
It is truly a wonder that I was never in the drama club.
My voice was never in that category, which is why I live out these fantasies through musicals.
In a nutshell, La La Land is an homage to old and new Hollywood and the musicals that made it memorable.
However, the underline theme that gave me struck me the most was the question of whether or not two equally successful artists can co-exist in a relationship and maintain a successful career as well.
On the left, we have Mia (Emma Stone). Mia is a young actress with hopes of the silver screen. She works on an on-studio cafe as a barista and is an unwilling participant in the whole Hollywood party scene.
Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) is a jazz purist. He prefers the past to the present/future. This makes it particularly difficult for any average person to deal with, work related or otherwise.
These two rebels (it makes more sense if you watch the movie) come together just as they are trying to make a name for themselves.
When Mia decides she wants to pursue her dream of kick-starting her acting career her own way. Sebastian basically decides he’s gonna be the breadwinner in the relationship. He sells his soul to John Legend (not a bad thing in my book, but okay). He does this in order to make some money to support himself and ultimately her too.
Mia doesn’t really acknowledge this and smart of Sebastian not to throw that in her face too.
Being in a relationship is weird, but being in a relationship with another artist is even weirder.
Last year, my partner who also happens to be a fellow artist in his own right, went on a four-month long art fellowship to Central America. It was weird being in the position of wanting him to do amazing things, but still wanting him nearby. Skype dates can only do so much. You want that person around but you don’t want to be the selfish person that staggards their career and goals.
It is a constant give and take. That’s probably why La La Land hit me so hard in the feels. Yes, the music has been in my head for days after watching. Yes, that last look by Gosling turned on all my tear ducts.
But it was that uncertainty that really got to me. Can I still want what I want, and can the other side get what they want without infringing on each other?
Spoiler alert: the movie says no.
At least in the world of Mia and Sebastian, you can’t have it both ways.
Now, excuse me, while I drown myself in a City of Stars.