Reporting the news since 1914

The Blue & Gold

Reporting the news since 1914

The Blue & Gold

Reporting the news since 1914

The Blue & Gold

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Why the Ending of La La Land Isn’t Sad

Mia and Sebastian get what they really want in the end: the success they both desired

If you know me, you may know that I am a huge fan of the 2016 movie musical La La Land, directed by Damien Chazelle.

There are many aspects about the film that make it exceptional, such as the gorgeous soundtrack by Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, and Justin Hurwitz. There’s Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling’s acting, and the beautiful cinematography of Los Angeles.

My absolute favorite part the movie, however, is the meaningful ending. Several times in my life, I have talked to a friend about my love for this movie, only to have them respond, “but the ending is so sad!” Well, I’m here to tell you why it’s not. 

Audiences feel sad that the couple breaks up in the end, but I don’t agree, due to something I call the “double movie theory.” I believe that this movie is not one movie but two.

The first movie is about romance; the second movie is about achieving your goals. The first movie ends when Stone and Gosling’s characters, Mia and Sebastian, have their first kiss in the planetarium.

The film then proceeds to do something called an “iris out,” where the screen blackens by closing into a black circle. Right after, the movie opens up with a circle, an “iris in,” on Mia writing her one-woman play. From this point froward, the love story deteriorates.

A chief difference between the two movies in La La Land that proves their independence is the incorporation of the music. In the first movie, the characters dance in the streets, completely unaware that they are singing in the middle of traffic. In the second movie, the characters only sing in appropriate situations, such as at the piano in the apartment. The first movie is a musical; the second is a movie with music. 

Once La La Land is understood as two distinct storylines, the ending of the movie is no longer sad.

Since the first movie ends with the couple together and the second ends with them succeeding, the characters fulfilled their desires each time.

To me, there is nothing sad about this conclusion. I feel that this movie shows that romance is not the end game for everyone. Mia and Sebastian chose their careers over each other because success made them the most happy.

I appreciate that La La Land portrays a different angle than many romantic Hollywood films. Two extremely talented people moved forward with their careers instead of their relationship, and the best part: they are happy!

This represents the epitome of Hollywood. Hollywood means doing whatever it takes to succeed and to make it in the industry – just like the meaning of La La Land. The characters are in beautiful Los Angeles, struggling to make ends meet, but the second their opportunity comes, they take it.

About the Contributor
Ella Weber
Ella Weber, Staff Writer
Ella Weber joined The Blue and Gold her freshman year because she loves writing about her interests. She channels her academic interests into several clubs, including the Spanish Club and the Marist Law Society. Ella runs cross country and enjoys playing her guitar and piano to the songs of her favorite singer, Taylor Swift. In her free time, Ella likes reading a variety of books and napping.