I just saw the movie La La Land. I heard it was a musical and just had to see it! (Spoiler Alert!)
At first I was a little nervous that the film was going to make fun of artists pursuing their dreams. I mean that title is pretty derogatory! The opening number is a hyperbole of whirling bodies, and songs of sunshine, hopes and dreams. Ugh – am I being mocked I wonder.
As the two young artists struggle to realize their dream I deeply relate to their frustrations and disappointments. The young man has a passion for jazz which he feels no one cares about anymore. The young woman wants to be an actress but continues to get rejected at casting calls. Themes include the debilitating fear of not being good enough; public criticism of your art; the crushing blows of having to “sell out” to what’s popular; the putting yourself out there and still having no opportunity; the pressure to “grow up” and be an adult; the expectations from others and yourself to get a REAL job – I feel them all deeply.
I am intrigued when the actress decides to write a One Woman Show – my journey as well. I feel her pain and self doubt behind the stage curtain on opening night. At the end of her show – the lights go up to reveal a very skimpy audience. At that moment I remember my own anguish over who would show up and feel so deeply grateful to all my friends, family and fans who came out for me. Thank you – really!
In the film both characters achieve their dream. But they are only able to because of the support they receive from each other. Each character wants to quit or sell out but is held accountable and supported by the other. This creates a deep connecting love for each other that is not dependent or defined by romantic love. This support cannot be underestimated. I think of my husband who continually pulls me through and supports me when I want to quit, when I want to cry and give up, when I just can’t do it any longer. It is because of him I am still creating.
We need each other.
The film indeed depicts the following of dreams as a kind of La La land, where couples dance under the stars, float in the air, dress elegantly in their finest attire, and sing cute little musical tunes. But it is not meant in a derogatory way at all. In fact the film is a plug and inspiration for artists to continue on following those dreams. La La Land is not a delusional place. It’s a special place where dreams can float above the heaviness of reality. La La Land is a place that empowers, creates and inspires. It takes you from the realities of the world into song and dance and takes you from what is to what’s possible.
That’s the power of La La Land.