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La La Land: To The Fools Who Dream

Nearly seven years have passed and still the remarkable movie of passion and sacrifice showcases what it takes to live the dream

From sunset tap scenes on a Los Angeles hill to floating in a Planetarium, La La Land has done more than just show the magic of dreams – it shows the story behind them. Nearly seven years have passed since Damion Chazelle’s La La Land was released on Dec. 9 2016, yet it still holds impressive ratings such as  91% rotten tomatoes and a 4.4 out of 5 rating. 

Starring joyful Emma Stone and charismatic Ryan Gosling, this award winning musical romance set a record for seven Golden Globe Awards. It won every nomination including the  Best Film Music, Best Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Actress in a Leading Role and Best Film. 

But after so many years this colorful film seems to have left a mark on many people.  And its debut on Netflix Feb. 1 2023 reached a new audience.

They don’t make films like this anymore

— David Sexton, Evening Standard

Chazelle’s storytelling is aligned in seasons, beginning in Summer where the protagonists unite around their passions. Sebastian(Gosling) wants to pursue his dream of opening his own jazz bar while Mia(Stone) dreams of becoming an actress. 

The opening song of La La Land presents all sorts of dreamers getting out of their cars in the middle of traffic to frolic and dance on top of their vehicles to “Another Day of Sun”. With lyrics like “we were seventeen, but he was sweet and it was true, still I did what I had to do” and “without a nickel to my name, hopped on a bus, here I came,” The words hint a theme of following one’s dreams at the cost of love.

“dreamers” dancing to “Another Day of Sun” in the opening scene of La La Land

Through dazzling color Chazelle depicts the intricate relationship between the two characters as the story progresses. In the beginning Sebastian and Mia are focused on their individual passions and do not feel connected or compelled by each other. We see this in their wardrobe as they were primary colors such as Mia’s well known yellow dress and Sebastian in a lot of blue. Once their relationship begins their colors primary colors begin to mix, and we see more colors like  orange, green, and purple on screen. With the use of secondary colors showing the combination of primary colors we can see the works of their growth together instead of being separate.

Mia dancing to “Someone in the Crowd” dressed in primary colors
Sebastian and Mia dancing in the “fake ending” of the movie dressed in secondary colors

The turning point in the relationship reflects another cinematic Chazelle detail. Sebastian and Mia’s first date is at the theater where they begin a movie before it is stopped early due to technical difficulties. The theater is a symbol for where they left each current life position to be with each other. Throughout the movie Mia drives past the theater driving forward, towards the right side of the screen. Yet once Mia and Sebastian hit a rough spot in their relationship we see her drive the opposite direction as before while the theater in the background is now closed. This choice in cinematography shows Sebastian and Mia are back tracking on their relations and returning to the prioritization of their life long dreams.

Mia driving past the theater before her movie with Sebastian
Mia driving past the theater once it has closed

The movie ends with them accidentally stumbling across each other years later in Sebastian’s long awaited jazz bar. Both exist in different life positions, Sebastian with his dream and Mia being a famous actress. After locking eyes the two characters hold non-verbal eye contact until the screen cuts to a collage of moments throughout the film…but with different outcomes. This segment of the film is believed to be what would have played at the end of the movie on their first date, and the life they could have had. Although some audiences saw this as a tragic ending to a romantic story, others might say this was the fitting conclusion to a film that follows people in the pursuit of lifelong dreams. Showcasing the sacrifices and commitment it takes to follow a dream.

Or this was a happy ending, where both characters got what they wanted, and helped each other get theirs. 

Gosling and Stone do not finish the movie on their first date. But they still started it. This is Chazelle’s point that  although they did not end up together as a family, they had a mutual understanding and are content with their current lives. They got what they wanted, and after locking eyes, Mia left the bar.

The ending the couple gave up for their true dreams


This season’s most dazzling movie experience

— Joe McGovern, Entertainment Weekly

When looking for a magical yet sensible story about dreams, sacrifices, and bittersweet endings, La La Land is “for the fools who dream.”

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About the Contributor
Cassidy Heer
Cassidy Heer, InDepth Co-Director

Cassidy Heer is a junior at PRHS. This is her second year in crimson and she is currently the In-Depth Co-Director. Heer is excited for another year of Crimson and hopes to continue her interest in writing and possibly pursue it as a career after graduation. In school, Heer plays tennis and is apart of the Beach Clean-Up Club. Outside of school, she enjoys spending time with friends and family.

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