When I first watched La La land, the ending struck me. It felt equally frustrating as it did beautifully gratifying; it felt like a tragedy, however, one that so delicately opened my perspective as an audience. It essentially forced us to look deeper into the consequences of the decisions we make, is it worth risking a career for love? Or is the pursuit of our professional lives what truly satisfies us?
Throughout the film, we are told the stories of Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a devoted musician who wants to create his jazz club, and Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actor, who are the central characters in the film. Both have huge goals, but they're having a hard time making it in Hollywood.
Sebastian and Mia meet and fall in love over two hours of song and dancing. They argue and reconcile, but they don't end up together in the end. Instead, Sebastian opens his jazz club by the end of the film, whilst Mia obtains a principal role in a Paris-filmed production that kickstarts her acting career. Unfortunately, both Mia and Sebastian separate after realizing their aspirations and never rekindle their romance.
The intriguing dilemma occurs when pondering the question of which would you choose if you had to choose between love or chasing a dream? In its feasible sense, this principally lies that in a typical, corporate and success-driven country that rewards passion and arduous effort, we prioritize those circumstances that seem most beneficial to us in the "long-run". In a society that deems success is the best gift of all, especially in American culture that portrays rock stars and movie stars as two of the most coveted dream gigs one could have; can we blame Mia and Sebastian for seeking something beyond and choosing to leave what could've been? Distance, time, and "stage of life" are frequently impediments in the early stages of a relationship. Perhaps you can't wholly pursue your ambitions while simultaneously being committed to a significant relationship.
Through our developing years, we are fed a perfect storybook romance. For decades, we devour this idea of what "love" is, what it can provide us, and even we miss out when seeking other opportunities. Although Disney fairy tales are pleasant to watch, it only takes two minutes to realize that they are not valid. As frustrating as it might be, people let us down; work can consume every being of humans, and "the one" might be nothing more than an illusion. Even if the movie is embellished with Hollywood pomp and spectacle, La La Land depicts a real-life circumstance. The La La Land Dilemma delves at whether or not being with someone is worth all of the effort, challenges, and drawbacks that come with it. Mia and Seb reached a point when they had to choose between being together and achieving less or being apart and achieving more.
Personally, I feel there is no "right" decision when discussing something with no factual validity. Mia and Seb realized they could have had a lovely marriage if they had chosen each other. However, they knew they would always look back with regret, wondering what they could have accomplished. Yet, what is most revealing is how they came to terms with it; the final smile shared between the two demonstrates a sense of recognition. They recognized the sacrifice they made; still, they've accepted it for what it has individually brought them.