La La Land thoughts / spoiler alert

La La Land failed to win Best Picture but still scooped six of its 14 Oscar nominations at the Academy Awards ceremony on 26 February.

La La Land review by Paula Berner Magalhaes.

This romantic and lively Hollywood musical goes something like this: 'girl (Mia) meets boy (Sebastian), they fall madly in love, but split so that each can pursue their dream careers (hers, being an actress; his, owning his own jazz club)'. Many romantics might have been disappointed at the end.

What interesting thoughts does La La Land bring about? Rather than concrete ideas, it explores the emotions that flourish during transitory chapters of life. Such as between finishing your studies and finding a job; having figured out your dream and going after it; battling to achieve something and actually 'making it'. This 'in betweenness' can be filled with paradoxical emotions that are portrayed with a light-heartedness that tells us to continue believing in our dreams too.

Mia and Sebastian's dreams revolve around their careers. In order to 'make it', they choose to follow different paths, confronting the dualism 'career versus love' in a non-dramatic fashion. But a nostalgic final scene addresses this choice by raising the daunting question of 'what could have been' if the couple had stayed together. It evokes the haunting 'what if'. More importantly, it tells us that 'making it in life' is never a complete task. That the choices we make while 'in the betweenness' can be more fulfilling than reaching a specific goal. In other words, living life to the fullest is the objective, not 'making it' in the end.

La La Land was nominated for 14 different Oscars. My vote goes for them at the Best Original Music Score category. But whether you were cheering or not, it is almost safe to assume that it is worth spending two hours listening to jazz with Ryan Gosling handsomely dressed as a musician, Emma Stones' beautifully large eyes filling with tears, and, my personal favourite, lots and lots of tap-dancing.

Directed by Damien Chazelle (who won Oscar for Best Director), starring Emma Stone (who won Oscar for Best Actress) and Ryan Gosling (who was nominated for Best Actor), showing in original language at Rome cinemas.