Spoiler alert: I will discuss the ending of the movie La La Land so please stop reading if you haven’t seen the movie or don’t want to know the ending.
A few weeks ago, my husband said to me, “I want to see La La Land.” I was not surprised at all. Mainly because Rick tells me constantly about movies he want to see and knowing we have five kids and we’ll never get there, I say, “Absolutely, let’s see it! Any time!”
They also couldn’t design a more perfect movie for Rick. Because first of all, it’s a musical.
Rick is a guy who once triumphed as Danny Zuko is his high school production of Grease and thinks of himself not so much as a successful TV newscaster but more of a TV newscaster/ famous broadway star. Despite the fact that he currently does not perform on Broadway.
La La Land is also a nod to the golden age of Hollywood movies and Rick loves old movies. Or as his children describes them, “the black and white, boring ones that daddy makes us watch sometimes.” But he has beautiful memories of watching It’s a Wonderful Life, Casablanca and Singin’ in the Rain with his grandparents. These movies are intertwined with happy memories of childhood.
I, however, don’t always love musicals – although some are great. And I think old movies can tend to be a little slow in the plot department. But I’ll tell you something I am consistently passionate about… Ryan Gosling.
So I was in on this whole La La Land thing even though it meant paying a sitter so we could go out and basically “watch TV” on a bigger screen. But you were allowed to bring in cocktails, so how bad could it get?
And I really did like the movie. Emma Stone is adorable and Ryan Gosling is very Ryan Goslingesque and all was great until…. the ENDING.
I don’t understand how there is not more outrage over the ending of this movie.
The entire movie is a homage to feel good, old school Hollywood movies until the end where suddenly they’re like… oh yeah, they don’t end up together. Here’s a montage of what it would have been like if they ended up together. But they didn’t. Movie over. Pick up your empty popcorn tub, throw away your empty plastic wine cup and go home and pay the sitter. Because this is over.
I felt robbed. Betrayed. Puzzled. The whole world is crazy and we can’t at least watch Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling ride off into the sunlit jazz club together?
I figured NPR’s Terry Gross would get to the bottom of it on Fresh Air when she interviewed the director Damien Chazelle. But no, she never even mentioned it. In fact, she seemed way more interested in Damien Chazelle as a person and way less interested in why two fake characters (Mia and Sebastian) didn’t end up together in the “it” movie of the year.
Without Terry’s insight, I’ve had to figure this out on my own. In the end, I decided, the movie is not about love and romance. It’s about pursuing ones dreams. And the choices one makes. And the roads not taken.
But it still nagged at me. Why couldn’t they find success and stay with each other?
I guess for my perfect ending, I’ll have to re-watch the Notebook where Rachel McAdams must choose between two men and she wisely picks Gosling.
Now that’s a Hollywood ending a romantic can love.