Why La La Land is now my most anticipated movie of the year

Written by Anthony Tyson on 8/25/16

When I saw Damien Chazelle’s first movie Whiplash last year, I immediately regretted not seeing it in theaters. The compelling drama, and tension, between the two characters of the jazz student and teacher was intense. Chazelle really brought out every drip of talent from Miles Teller, and J.K. Simmons acting was as on point as ever. The story of what it takes to achieve excellence, and what it brings out in you to become that, was in short: brilliant. When I heard that he was taking on a new project and that it would again be revolving around a music back drop, I was immediately intrigued.

La La Land’s first trailer, showcasing Ryan Gosling singing one of the upcoming movie’s feature songs, was great. The trailer gave off this musical vibe, and showed that this would be a fantastical version of a modern romance set with two characters of a pianist, and a stage actress. Gosliing and Stone have had great chemistry before, and I was immediately reminded of their previous outing together in the often underrated movie, ‘Crazy Stupid Love’. I was ready to accept a simple love story with a great soundtrack, but then the second trailer for La La Land dropped.

Before I knew it, two hours had gone by while I had replayed the trailer over, and over again. Emma Stone’s song Audition was featured this time, and it’s melancholy tone is heartfelt and romantic, but there was something else underlying the obvious romantic overture for me as well. After the two hours of constant repetition, I came to a realization. Yes, its romantic, but very nostalgic and uplifting too. Very….. Passionate. Why was this the case?

Sure, romance can be nostalgic, especially when considering a love lost. For me though, I’ve never been happier in a relationship as I am with my future bride to be right now, so it wasn’t from that. Yes, love can be uplifting as well, but that didn’t seem right to associate it completely with romance either. Same for the passion I felt as well. The dawning moment of explanation came, when I realized who this song was really singing to. Let me break it down to explain.

 

“Here’s to ones who dream, foolish as they may seem”

This could be associated to the lover that is foolishly dreaming of the one they long for…..

OR

I thought that this associated to artist that sees something they want to create. Even if it’s a crazy idea, they chase after it.

 

“Here’s to the hearts that ache”

I’m sure it needs no explanation, but definitely interpretable as one aching for the person they love.

OR

Interpreted to allude to the ache in someone’s soul to become something more.

 

“Here’s to the mess we make”

  Could allude to when one fails, or the fights you have with the person you love.

OR

The failures that you have in the pursuit of a dream, and accepting them.

After this moment is when the B-Section of the song hits, and it’s here that I really started to think like this…

 

“She captured a feeling, of a sky with no ceiling. A sunset inside a frame”

I could see that your first reaction would be thinking this alludes to the feeling when you are falling in love, and the boundless potential of you and your significant other. The, “sunset inside a frame”, maybe alluding to a beautiful thing within sight.

OR

I started to look at it as the feeling you acquire when you look off to the distance, and see the goal you want to achieve. It’s there within focus, and you want to exceed the milestone for greatness; “A sky with no ceiling”. After this we head back to the original refrain, but it seems as if Emma sings this with much more bravado and gusto.

“Here’s to the One’s who dream”

“Foolish as they may seem”

“Here’s to the hearts that ache”

“Here’s to the mess we make”

 

Being that she sing’s this with so much more confidence, I think that this passage serves to cement what I was getting at above. It serves both as a reminder of the passion of love, but also as an allegory to the passion and drive of an artist, or dreamer; someone who has a goal and aspires to achieve something greater. Consider the brief synopsis we have of the movie: “A young jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles.” Pretty surface level at first, but take in that double meaning hidden in the lyrics of the song. I think the real crux and conflict of the movie will be finding the balance of the passions of romance, along with the drive of success and your dreams. Both are passionate, and both require dedication to achieve.

 

This concept is something I personally have found myself struggling with in the past, and I can’t wait to see how the person who gave us Whiplash, and asked the question, “When do you draw the line in the pursuit to create greatness?”, tackles this concept of balancing professional and personal life. Emma’s character is singing to us, serving as the perfect audition into our hearts and minds. The latest trailer reminds us that good trailers are an art form in itself, and due to its fantastic nature, has elevated La La Land into my most anticipated movie of the year. If it’s a great love story, I’ll be happy with it; but I really hope it gets into this subject matter and really wows us.

Here’s to the ones who dream La La Land!