La La Land - The Ending· La La Land Review
La La Land is a remarkable movie in many ways. Even its name is a pun upon the city of L.A., the home of Hollywood, where the movie is set. It is a musical love story of Mia - a struggling actress and Sebastian - a jazz pianist, talented but unsuccessful.
I feel that its the ending of the movie that gives it its true character. When both of them have achieved their creative ambitions- Mia is a successful actress and is married with a kid, Sebastian owns a jazz bar of his own, they meet again when Mia happens to go to Sebastian’s jazz club with her husband. Sebastian is on the stage and sees her. This meeting, given they meet after 5 years, feels surreal. It can’t be that both of them had not anticipated this moment. Sebastian approaches the piano and plays the music he was playing the second time they had met. This music had been a recurring motif in their lives and had driven many of their decisions.
Mia and Sebastian imagine their entire life till that point together, both - the parts they spent together and the parts they did not, in one beautiful song and it seems all so perfect. All the unpleasant moments from their lives are altered to show a flawless fairy tale reimagination. They imagine all the unrealized possibilies of their relationship. When the music ends, Mia wakes up from a trance and decides to leave.
While Mia is leaving, their eyes meet. For a moment, nothing happens, they just look at each other. This moment is full of anticipation and tension. In this moment, or rather the entirety of this unexpected meeting, both of them are not sure what they want from each other, whether they would be happy if they get back together again or not. Both of them have been hit by a strong wave of nostalgia, which being the strangest of all emotions tries to makes people sad and happy at the same time. Then Mia, smiles. She is probably realizing that the time they spent together would always remain with her as beautiful memories of the past and she wanted it to be that way. There was too much inertia to getting back together again, and it was not the best thing to do at that time. A moment later, Sebastian smiles too. To me, this scene is evocative of the deep connection they both share, having been with each other, supporting each other at perhaps the most difficult times in their lives. Then Mia leaves and the movie ends.
Is it a feel good movie and the ending a happy one? It is hard to characterize. But it sure is different from all the other movies I have seen.