I believe I have talent.
Not just as a writer. I can act and sing very well. At least, that’s what my family and close friends tell me.
When I went to the high school that I would spend the majority of my time at, I was stunned by how professional their theater company was, and I was looking forward to the next few years, starring in show after show.
But that was a dream. Not reality.
I was told time and time again that I was not the right fit for the show. I auditioned for every show in high school, and since graduation, I have auditioned a few more times. But it always seems to end with the same message. “Better luck next time.”
Naturally, I started to wonder why I kept failing at the auditions despite trying my hardest every time.
Maybe I was being discriminated against because of my medical diagnosis. Or maybe I just needed to take better care of my hygiene.
Or maybe I’m just not good enough.
Maybe the only reason my friends and family tell me I’m good is because they’re my friends and family and they have to say that.
Maybe I’m just a fool who’s dreaming.
But who says there’s anything wrong with that?
I deliberately avoided watching the trailers for La La Land. I didn’t want to be spoiled. I wanted to see it on my birthday knowing as little as possible. And within the first five minutes of the movie, I knew that Zootopia was no longer the Best Film of 2016.
I would be praising this film as the best of the year even if everyone else hated it. But clearly, that’s not the case. When I saw the film, the theater was almost entirely packed. That’s not something I would expect from an Oscar contender. But word of mouth has been spreading so much that the film is bringing everyone together in a time when that is so desperately needed.
This movie isn’t just for film-buffs. This is a film for dreamers.
It would have been so easy for this film to just say “dreams do come true,” like thousands of other films before it. Instead it looks at dreams from an angle that we haven’t really seen before. When should you dream and when should you just live your life the way you feel obligated to?
Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone give soulful performances as two people who come to Los Angeles looking to pursue their dreams, and the complicated emotions that rise. It’s not a film that you would call gritty, but it does feel grounded enough.
But they also leave just enough abstractness in the music and the direction to make you feel that this film is not quite reality. It’s more like a modern fairytale, asking you how you would react to the situations Mia and Sebastian find themselves in.
Movies were first created as a means of escapism, before some directors showed that they could depict hard lessons about reality. La La Land works as a compromise between these two notions. In many respects, the film is a dream itself. Bright colors, an insane amount of long takes, and outstanding musical numbers show a reflection of life that somehow seems even more real.
I honestly can’t believe I’ve lived almost twenty years of my life without never having known the beauty and the joy that is La La Land.
Here’s to the fools who dream.