If you’ve seen Damien Chazelle’s latest film La La Land, you’ll know it has stunning visuals, gorgeous music and some really moving performances from Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling.
But I’m not here to talk about that today. I’m going to talk about just how relatable this film is for anyone with a shred of creativity in them. Like ‘Haha, I totally recognise that in myself, and now I’m crying’ relatable.
- I could be brave or just insane, we’ll have to see.
This movie is full of people chasing their creative dreams. In the opening scene a woman sings about leaving home to try to make it as an actress. She’s one of many, and she doesn’t know yet if it will pay off.
Every writer, artist, actor or musician takes risks, whether it’s giving up a steadier career or being vulnerable enough to share their work. Whether you’re brave or mad to do it is pretty subjective.
2. ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears, from the perspective of the Bears’
OK, I confess I laughed out loud in the cinema when Mia (Emma Stone) meets an aspiring writer at a party. He’s determined to convince her he’s a big deal, and immediately lets her know that others say he has a talent for world-building. His pitch for a story about Goldilocks and the Three Bears comes across as ridiculous (I’m not saying it can’t be done, but this is not the guy to write it).
He’s everything we’re determined not to be – self-promoting but with no sign of having put any work in to his ideas. Maybe the point of this character is for everyone in the audience with creative aspirations to collectively think ‘at least I’m not as annoying as him!’
3. Maybe I’m not good enough
Hands up who’s had that thought so far today? Yep, thought so.
Seeing Mia’s face as she overhears people criticising her play is heartbreaking. And familiar. Actually, I kind of admired the character for not curling up on the floor and crying at that moment. Not that I would do that either, obviously.
4. The epic musical numbers
Sometimes when I walk down the street, humming a song to myself, I like to imagine a scenario where passers by join in, a couple of buskers play an accompaniment, and then suddenly everyone launches into a choreographed dance routine. Imagination helps you see beyond the mundane to implausible wonderful possibilities. La La Land’s big musical numbers definitely fed that daydream!
5. The Fools Who Dream (Mia’s audition song)
Bring on the rebels, the ripples from pebbles, the painters and poets and plays. And here’s to the fools who dream, crazy as they may seem.
This beautiful song is a manifesto for why creativity and imagination, for all their impracticality and consequences, uplift us.
This is a film that is surprisingly honest and realistic when it comes to the cost involved in pursuing that creative dream you have. It doesn’t tell you how much to sacrifice, but it does make you think, and feel, and sing.