La La Land -- A Musical Tale Breaking The Illusion Of Time

La La Land is a movie of ambitions and romance, a story of love and career, of loved-ones and of life. Damien Chazelle is my all-time favorite story teller for now. This is a genius portrayal of two young people, their ambitions in life and also feelings for each other. It is a regular rom-com, it is also a larger than life reel. The feeling of something spiritual about the whole movie dawns slowly, creeps in a little, bit-by-bit, as you keep thinking about it.

I have been a huge fan of Hollywood musicals since childhood, even with very little exposure to it, then. I haven’t much been a fan of Indian music, except for soulful ghazals, but a classical English song would steal my heart away, any day. I just don’t know why. This movie stole my heart away too, with its opening flash-mob scene of a bunch of youngsters singing on the highway in the midst of jammed traffic. I knew I would love it, I just knew it, bordering on prejudice. Later I realize the lyrics of this beautiful number is the entire story of the movie, in but a few happy and rhythmic song-dance-sequence.

Behind these hills I’m reaching for the heights

And chasing all the lights that shine

And when they let you down

You’ll get up off the ground

As morning rolls around

And it’s another day of sun

When they let you down

The morning rolls around

It’s another day of sun

- Lines from the “Another Day Of Sun” song of La La Land

Sebastian and Mia are two aspiring people, who try their fortune in LA. The sardonic portrayal of failed auditions, dismissal at music clubs, juggling a day job as a waitress in a café, joining a frenemy’s band, and all of that, has been depicted with a little every day hesitancy and simple story telling, which lends a completely fresh honesty and audacity, at the same time.

I wouldn’t go into much detail about the love story between the Mia and Sebastian. Neither am I going to write about their respective careers, successes and failures, and the journeys they take, which leads them to wherever they are now. Suffice to say this movie shows that sometimes it takes a loved one to give a little bit of push, in spite of fate or fortune. And sometimes using that push could also leave the same loved one, to go to another place. And that is the real reality of our lives.

To look in somebody’s eyes

To light up the skies

To open the world and send them reeling

A voice that says, I’ll be here

And you’ll be alright

- Lines from the “City of Stars” song of La La Land

This movie is a fairy tale, set in real time, with the failures and successes, the loves and heartbreaks of reality.

My heart sank when I saw Mia happily married with a daughter. A die-hard romantic that I am, in my heart, I couldn’t accept this in a movie, nor in real life. And I waited with so much disappointment to see what the director was going to tell.

My all-time favorite liking for Chazelle was starting to fade, but he brought it back with so much more than just a real ending. My regret erupted into joy, to note his brilliant ending.

The movie’s ending went beyond real, if you ask me.


The final few minutes takes note of all the failed situations in the lives of Mia and Seb, creates alternate situations which are both perfect and happy, gives a twist in every juncture of their life, and in a few perfect minutes, gives a beautiful ending. Love wins, success cushions them both, and we are left with a happily ever after! But our minds interfere; it says this is a bittersweet imagination to the finale which has actually happened.

Those few perfect moments last for an entirety in my heart. I would cherish that ending for all time to come, knowing very well that the director chose to show another ending which is more real to him. The romantics that we have come to be, we are snared in this alternate, because of imaginations and fairy tales, because of tragedies and celebration of our own dreams.

Here’s to the fools who dream

Crazy, as they may seem

- Lines from the Audition song of La La Land

Chazelle gave me, the foolish dreamer, all that she asked for. And for all those crazy dreamers all that they asked for. Yes, dreams are made of the perfect blend of beauty and success and love. And there we had it. And is this real? Or is this for the unreal dreamers?

Or are the unreal dreamers more real than the real skeptics?

And I now wonder, what is time? And what is reality?

In the final scene, as Seb nods at Mia when she leaves the club with her husband, with Mia smiling back, I am left with a smile too. My despair at the failed romance melts. My heart leaps up at the teaser of an alternate ending shared by Chazelle. And I wonder at his genius. Just what is real now?

I can accept the ending – both the endings. Both are equally joyful now. And I don’t think of this as a failure at romance. Seb’s eyes though sad, hints at a possibility of happiness, an alternate reality, perhaps beyond time, where they are both entrapped as lovers and successful people. Mia’s shadow of a smile acknowledges the possibility too.

La la Land tells that eternity could be trapped in a few happy moments and leave you there if you would be willing to.

I wish the characters, Mia and Seb happiness whichever reality they have chosen.

Love and aspirations, dreams and hard-work, passion and results – I wonder what the stars would shine on…?

City of stars

Are you shining just for me?

City of stars

There’s so much that I can’t see

Who knows?

I felt it from the first embrace I shared with you

That now our dreams

They’ve finally come true

- Lines from the “City of Stars” song of La La Land

La La Land leaves you with joy, and dreams. It gives you hope and inspiration.

La La Land tells you to love, in spite of the harsh realities of failed romances of the modern world.

Reality is but a mere illusion you choose to believe.

Time is a lesson you are trapped in, because of the shackles, your mind has led you to believe.

And I rest the night, with these thoughts, to wake up in an other year.