As we are closing in to Oscar season and the big favourite this year being La La land I thought I would give my thoughts on it and it’s wave of glory.
La La Land is written and directed by Damien Chazelle and stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as the main characters Sebastian and Mia. A jazz pianist and an aspiring actress who falls in love while they both try to achieve their dreams in LA.
The movie is a musical drama which is really a love letter to LA and Hollywood which probably is the reason why it is winning so many awards already and is breaking all records in nominations everywhere. It is the perfect film that people of the film industry would love.
With that said it’s by no means a bad movie. Not at all. Much worse movies has been winning tons of awards just because it is something tailor made for Hollywood, but in my opinion it’s not an outstanding movie that is like nothing we’ve ever seen before. But this comes from someone who never got really in to the whole Titanic hype, which was one of the previous movies that had this sort of favourite mark. I actually prefer La La Land over Titanic any day and I have a reason. Cause I think that for me La La Land, although not a perfect film, will for a long time stand as one of my favourite films. And it’s all down to timing.
I didn’t know anything about the movie and had never heard about it until this Christmas when I saw the poster. I wanted to see it although that was mainly because the colourful poser made it look very intriguing to me as well as I knew of the director’s previous work and liked the look of his movies. I’m a sucker for good cinematography. I also listened to a couple of the songs on Spotify, but not all of them so I couldn’t really guess what it was going to be about other than wanting to work in the film industry so I wanted to see it.
Even though I wasn’t eagerly waiting for the movie some of my colleagues as Lupus was and arranged for a trip to the cinema once the movie was released and I decided to go and invited Natalie to come with us.
I am so glad I went cause I loved it! I thought it was a fantastical two hours spent and it really moved me and now here is the reason why this will be standing as a favourite of mine. It came out exactly when I needed a movie like this.
Let me explain. The movie is about following the dream, which is a VERY overused theme in many movies. Especially animated movies actually come to think of it although this was a live action. These movies tend though to follow a story line that is more like this: a character desires something, people tell him/her that he/she can’t do it, he/she does it anyway, it works out for a while, gets to comfortable, something goes wrong, he/she gets depressed, people who didn’t believe in them tells him/her they where wrong, he/she starts over, it works out, everyone is happy.
That is the usual way it’s told, this however takes a more realistic take on it and points out how exhausting it can be, how long it takes, how many downfalls there is, how you sometimes doubt yourself or how you sometimes is forced to sacrifice something to achieve what you most desire. And this, this is more or less where I am now in my career. I’ve had some work and I know that I most likely will get some again, but there were so many scenes in this movie were I could recognise myself in the characters. Not just right now, but also after my bachelor’s degree were I had two years were I didn’t get any work at all and I started to consider the possibility of scrapping the dream and do something more secure. And then I did as the characters in the movie I spent all my savings and gave the dream a chance and although it’s an exciting ride in itself it’s not easy. And THAT is why I loved this movie, it acknowledges how hard it is. How mentally exhausting it is to doubt what you want to do most and how it is to hold on to the dream when you know it might work out, you just never know how long it will take or if it will be worth it.
Like I’ve said, I’ve had some work since graduating, but a few people I know has really struggled and some of them has seen this movie and we have talked about it afterwards. The general feeling people are left with after this movie is careful optimism since the movie doesn’t really have a classical happy ending. But many I’ve talked to have, like me, recognised many of the feelings in this movie and loves it for it. It’s inspired many a talk about how we all try to stay positive while we sometimes really doubt our choices to choose such a difficult and unstable career.
People that don’t work in creative jobs sometimes ask me how talented you have to be to work in this type of industry. I’ve come to think of it that talent doesn’t really matter nearly as much as passion. People without passion can’t survive in a creative industry. Anyone can become a talented artist with enough time, but if you can’t get up after the downfalls or wait patiently for the time it takes to make a name for yourself you won’t make it. But with that said, the industry has probably also ruined talented people full of passion that could have become something huge because it might have taken too long. Something that is also addressed in the movie.
I know people that was eventually forced to do something else although they still have animation or illustration or whatever as their biggest wish to work with. Sometimes life comes in and you will have to make a choice. Also something the movie acknowledges, sometimes the almost impossible choice is made and you might not end up exactly where you intended or wanted, but you could still be happy in the long run.
I also loved that the main characters, Sebastian and Mia, was two very talented people as many movies like this have someone that is less talented when they start out and then they learn a skill while achieving the dream. Not in this movie, here they are hugely talented from the beginning, they are both just waiting for what everyone that starts out is waiting for, a stroke of luck. Being in the right place at the right time, that someone in the crowd.
So hopefully from now on, as I continue on my path that I don’t know where will lead me, both in my career and in life. When I see La La Land again it will remind me of the years of my life when I was a poor struggling animator that dared to dream and that gave everything to achieve it. And that’s why La La Land is a new favourite movie of mine.
I recommend this movie to anyone that is working, or wants to work, in a creative industry. This might be a love letter to LA, but to me it’s more of a love letter to dreamers. To us.