By: Meg Schmit
I’ll admit, the first thing that drew me into seeing La La Land wasn’t the movie itself, but actor Ryan Gosling. I have watched several of his films – Nice Guys, Crazy, Stupid, Love, The Notebook – and always found he portrayed his roles phenomenally.
La La Land was no different, and in fact harkened back in my mind to The Notebook – with a more realistic but tragic ending. In both films, he is the struggling artist-type – a jazz musician versus a carpenter – who meets the girl of his dreams, but their love is pockmarked with disputes and twists of fate. While in The Notebook, the unlikely lovebirds fly back to one another and live out their happy life together, La La Land paints the sad story of a couple that loves one another but separates for the sake of their respective ambitions. Years later, instead of running back into each other’s arms…they part ways with only a nod and a smile of acknowledgement.
Still from La La Land when Mia (Emma Stone) recognizes Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) while he plays the piano at his jazz club, years after they parted ways.
My inner romantic manifested during the finale of La La Land as an unstoppable flow of tears made their way down my cheeks. Who could not cry watching Gosling’s heartfelt, soft rendition of “City of Stars” and the alternate future that could-have-been while his former lover leaves with another man? However, my admiration for realistically bittersweet endings found it simultaneously utterly beautiful – like this author did on Cinema Blend.
Love is sacrifice, longing, pain, and deliverance. It is a paradox of good and bad, vulnerability and strength, past and hope for the future. And life, in most cases, isn’t a clear-cut happy ending.
Like in the instance of La La Land, sometimes a whirlwind love just isn’t enough.