I just watched La La Land, and loved it. I had heard the negative reviews so sloughed it off, not worth the time to watch. Just more Hollywood fluff, a glitzy attempt at contrived song and dance routines by actors who are neither singers nor dancers. So it won at the Academy Awards, but that doesn’t prove anything.
But I turned on the TV, and the channel was set to where the movie was about to begin, and I decided to see for myself what it was about, just the first few minutes. I rarely watch TV during the day, and today is such a beautiful fall day here in Texas. Clear blue skies, low 70s. Gorgeous. Certainly not a mid day TV watching day.
But, the title was on the screen, the movie beginning, so I opened the living room windows, got another cup of coffee and sat back down. Mia and Seb had me from the start. Could not leave it. Watched it all, and will watch it again tonight.
Oh, it was fantasy, it was old-fashioned, it was all about living in la la land, which is where most of us lived in the early days when we had our dreams, when life was stretching out in front of us, and we believed that anything was possible if we only worked hard enough, kept the faith, and never gave up. When our hearts were young and full of aspirations and passion, when our bodies were strong and beautiful, and our spirits were pure and hopeful. When there seemed always a way to open the right door leading to the yellow brick road, tomorrow, tomorrow, somewhere over the rainbow where bluebirds fly. When what all the world needed was love, sweet love. All that jazz, right?
I am an old-fashioned soul in lots of ways, especially when it comes to romance, the old ways, to that thing called love. I love slow jazz, slow dancing, up close and intimate. I love hand-holding in the movies. Hand-holding anywhere. I miss that. I miss dancing. I miss singing along in the car to whatever is playing on the radio, like we did when the kids were little in the back seat. I loved listening to the radio, parked somewhere with my boyfriend on a winter night, making out in the back seat while the windows fogged over. I miss it all. I miss my youth. I miss believing in my dreams, that they really would come true. Especially miss the innocence of pure youthful bliss.
But I had it all back, for a little while; it was all there in La La Land. The beauty, the richness of colors and costumes, the music, polite gentle people, perfect bodies dancing, sweet innocence of love before it was stolen by the dream. Stolen by the reality of life, by two worlds no longer in sync because Mia and Sebastian each had their own dreams to follow. Moments lost to if only. If only the first meeting had gone another way. If only this, or that had not happened. Or if only it had. Then everything could have been different. They could have had their dreams and each other too.
But dreams are all powerful. Dreams are the breath of art. Expression is its birth. Public appreciation, its impetus, its achievement, its climax. Lack of breath, expression, appreciation is death to an artist. One’s dream is the only true love. All else is ordinary, hopefully not mundane. For most, dreams are realized inside ordinary life; for the dreamer, life must be found inside the dream as it was for Mia and Sebastian. Each of them represented the other’s dream: that one and only forever true love.
Ordinary is good, it is substance, our daily sustenance, it is what allows the dreamers to dream. Most of us are not dreamers, to be sure, and La La Land will not strike just the right note with everyone. It may not stir the youth of yesteryear exiled somewhere inside you, the way it did for me.
But I hope it does. It is so hauntingly, achingly, breathtakingly lovely.