Life, Love and La La Land

Off Duty

WARNING: Serious spoilers ahead if you have not yet seen the film La La Land.

I actually saw this film a few weeks back, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. It honestly took my breath away. With spot-on performances from two of my favorite actors (Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling), direction by Damien Chazelle and amazing music to boot, this film was such an incredible experience from start to finish. The cinematography and visual world created in this film is also stunning. I love getting to leave a movie and feel like I actually got to escape the real world for awhile.

Looking beyond the greatness of the film itself, I wanted to discuss the topics that watching this film provoked because themes in this film are too significant to ignore. First, I am and always have been a dreamer. I have been acting since I was a kid, and always dreamed of the mystical perfect lifestyle of being an actor and living in Los Angeles. This movie does a great job of showing just how hard it can be trying to make a living while pursuing the dream of being a professional performer. I absolutely loved the construction of Mie’s character and how she handled all of these obstacles. Watching Mie onscreen and her success was such a strong reminder that without dreamers, there would be few success stories. Without believing in yourself and your talents, you will never get anywhere. It’s better to dream big than small.


Next, the topic of love in this film is beautiful and undeniably real. MAJOR SPOILER: The two main characters that we “ship” so hard throughout the film, unfortunately, do not end up together. Even though I had a feeling this would happen, it was still heartbreaking to watch and I would be lying if I said I didn’t cry a bit in the theater. And to top it all off, we get this HEARTBREAKING montage of everything that could have been in their lives, but just didn’t happen because of how life pulled them separate directions. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve really begun to see how true this is. How two people can love each other, be a major influence on the other person but still not end up together.

In a world where divorce has become common, people look at these failed relationships and say things like “what a shame” or dismiss it as being all for nothing more than a waste of time. If you ask me, your first love is just as important as your last. Each person that you truly love, gives you something and this changes who you are. Without this new piece of yourself, you would be stagnant. Sometimes a person comes into our lives to help our soul grow in a new way, but they are not the right person we are ultimately meant to have as our life partner. We see this with Mie and Sebastien. Without Mie, Sebastien would have spent however long working gigs that he did not care about and wouldn’t have saved the money to reach his ultimate goal of opening a jazz club. Without Sebastien, Mie would have moved back home forever and never gotten her big break. This is far from a tragedy. The mark that a person is capable of leaving on one’s life is not to be dismissed or considered a failure. It’s life and it’s beautiful.

Now, I’m not saying to just sit back and let life take over completely. I am a firm believer that if you want something/someone/etc. you have to fight for it. But, you have to consider why you are fighting for it. And if it is in fact, meant to be, life will give you a breeze pushing you towards what has seemingly slipped away. And who knows, maybe in this film world this could happen for Sebastien and Mie later in their lives as well. La La Land really reminded me to chase what I love without fear, and trust in the flow of life but not be a victim to it. Sometimes what you want is sitting right in front of you, but it’s still your responsibility to grab it. Before someone else does or before it slips before your eyes.


Kelsey Knepler

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