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Lessons from La La Land

(Disclaimer: this article reveals spoilers, buy you should definitely make it to the theatre.) If you have been living under a rock, in the awards season, La La Land has been sweeping in nearly every nomination over the last couple of weeks. The movie stars three time costars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling as young artists working to their dreams as artists. The film has been critically acclaimed by movie lovers and the press, and for good reason. With the most Golden Globe wins in history and several Oscar contentions in the works, there are many layers to what is likely to go down as a modern classic. The film also provides a different take on the Hollywood cliché of hard work and having a dream.

On Love

The plot focuses around Mia and Sebastian trying to achieve their acting career and jazz club in the gilded town of Los Angeles. For the two characters, there is the battle between love and their dreams, as the two are constantly pulling each other in different directions. Some relationships are not meant to last forever, but rather to allow us to grow as people. Every friendship, acquaintance and relationship teach us something- good or bad.


On Achieving Dreams

In the beginning of the film, Mia is experiencing what many imagine the life of an actor to be- going on auditions one after another with the same rejection every time. She constantly battles with debating if everything is worth it and it isn’t until she decides to leave and write her own scenes that she can become one of the big stars that mirrors the kind of people she serves as a struggling actress on the Warner Brothers lot. Dreams can be achieved, even if it is not in the traditional sense. This is especially applicable to the trying to figure out career paths- and accepting that that path is not going to be predictable and straight.


On Nostalgia

In the final, and most debated scene, Mia and Sebastian see each other years later, and Mia is with her husband. The movie ends with a final scene where they exchange glances as Mia leaves Sebastian’s jazz club after a montage of what their life would have looked like if they had stayed together. There are many times that we imagine the “what if’s” of our life, and in return, it can drive us crazy. In the end, Mia is happily married with a child and Sebastian seems hopeful in life. Asking them to jeopardize this seems crazy.


On Life

Like 500 Days of Summer, the film ends with a very real ending. There is a reason that most movie plots are unrealistic- their ability in tying the ending up with a bow divides movies from life. As someone watching the film, there is the desire to have the two together regardless of their new lives. As college students looking to go into future careers, La La Land reveals some of the harsh realities of things coming together in a messy- but still somehow beautiful- way. 

Emma Sheehy is a senior English major at Bucknell University. Now washed up, she can be seen running around Lewisburg, people watching on the first floor of the library and drinking wine in her apartment. She prefers to send snail mail, call people rather than text (to the dismay of her friends) and loves nighttime walks. To see more of her "stuff" check out her personal blog on life at Bucknell at http://www.emmasheehy.com.
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