Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in La La Land

My Favorite Scene: La La Land (2016) “Epilogue – The Price of Dreams”

The REAL best picture from last year still has me kind of puzzled as to how a classical Hollywood musical managed to completely blow me away to the point where I ended up seeing it more in the the theater than I did Rogue One.  Damien Chazelle is come kind of mad wunderkind.  Whiplash was a work of genius, and La La Land is also about music and extols the virtue of jazz, but this couldn’t be more different.  An unabashed musical of this sort hadn’t been made since the late 1950s.  It’s charming, visually stunning, has amazing music and songs, and finishes in a surprisingly bittersweet, though charming look at what might have been for the film’s stars: Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling).

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in La La Land

La La Land is about chasing your dreams, and-ultimately-if you take away a message from the film it’s that you can have your dreams and the person you love the most, but be wary, because the smallest decision, one alteration from what you know in your heart to be the right course, and you’ll end up losing one or the other (or likely both outside of the world of movies).  The film’s end flashes forward five years.  Mia’s achieved her dream of acting success and Sebastian has his jazz club, which Mia and her husband stumble into one night one the way home.  Sebastian, playing the piano, sees Mia, and begins to play their theme, and then Chazelle takes the audience on a trip through an alternate timeline, where things didn’t go wrong between them, and they still got what they wanted.  We revisit the music and locales of the film and the entire thing shouldn’t work because we’re too jaded in 2017 for something as hokey as this amazingly shot dance number…but apparently we’re not if it’s done right.  This is a perfect film, period.
Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in La La Land

9 thoughts on “My Favorite Scene: La La Land (2016) “Epilogue – The Price of Dreams””

    1. The opening was one of the most wonderful things I had ever seen. I agree with you about the Epilogue. It was pure genius. It reminded me of An American In Paris.

      La La Land was wonderful, but if it had not been bookended by those two scenes, it would have been considerably less so.

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      1. I’m overjoyed that you love it so much. It’s a wonderfully entertaining movie, and Gosling is a revelation. Maybe the reason I don’t love it quite as much as you do is that I like plot-driven musicals better than ones where the production numbers are the primary selling point. It’s just a personal preference. When I think of my favorite musicals, which include shows like Cabaret, Fiddler on the Roof, Sweeney Todd, Carousel, and Gypsy, they all have very serious, and often dark, plot lines and themes.

        I thought La La Land was a little thin, and a little overlong given its thinness.

        I still saw it three times in the theater. How could anyone not want to?

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      2. Did you know that Justin Hurwitz scored the whole film including the songs before they brought in lyricists to write lyrics to already composed songs without words. How nuts is that?

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      3. Cool! This film really did have an edge over most modern musicals in one important respect: I left the theater with all the tunes in my head. There are a lot of mediocre, generic scores to modern shows out there, just like anything else, but the shows with really accomplished music by highly talented composers all avoid hummable tunes too. I think it’s an actual pathology. One of the most beautiful scores out there is to a show called the Light in the Piaza. The story feels like it was cobbled together on cocktail napkins, but the music is haunting and sublime, and goes through gymnastics to not stay in your memory.

        I cannot wait for the PT Barnum film with Jackman, because this composer is something special.

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