Why So Many People Loved 'La La Land'...or Not

Debbie McDaniel | iBelieve Contributing Writer | Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Why So Many People Loved 'La La Land'...or Not

If you tuned into the Golden Globe Awards recently, you may have noticed one thing.

La La Land.

It swept through the awards, claiming seven wins, surpassing the record of six awards previously held by “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” and “Midnight Express.”

The L.A. Times notes, “In addition to the acting awards for Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, "La La Land" was up for comedy picture, director, screenplay, score and song.

Damien Chazelle won for directing and screenplay, and Justin Hurwitz won for original score. The award for song went to Benj Pasek and Justin Paul for ‘City of Stars.’”

It’s certainly created some buzz in the movie scene. So many people loved it, and for obvious reasons of colorful choreography, the creative flashback to an old musical style, a romantic, clever story line, and the great acting duo of Gosling and Stone. 

So many viewers loved it because perhaps we all somehow related, in some way, to this movie.
If any of us have ever held a dream, chased our dreams, or worked hard while reaching for them, we may relate to something here.

If any of us have ever nervously stood in an audition, felt under-appreciated or over-looked, lost a job, been out of money or out of time, we may relate to the film’s story.

If any of us have ever been in love or experienced romance only to find that the result of that relationship was not really what we expected, well again, we can possibly relate to something here.

So what’s there not to like?

Maybe this…

The ending.

It didn’t go like the fairy tales say it should. Many found themselves walking away from the movie, completely fixated on the “plot twist” that just seemed “all wrong” after you’ve just spent a few hours eating popcorn and falling in love with these characters.

If you’ve seen it, you know this, and may relate to the words of Houston Pastor Steve Bezner in this Gospel Coalition article by Jared Wilson:

“The song ends. Seb is emotionally spent. Mia exits. But, at the end, they exchange one last look and friendly nod. They mutually agree: We made the right decision. We chose our dreams instead of love.

And this is why I hated La La Land.”

Steve explains:

“In logic class a teacher would call this forced decision between dreams and love a false dichotomy. That is, we are led to believe that there is only one possible path. Either Mia and Sebastian choose one another, or they choose the passionate thing in their lives. Writer-director Damien Chazelle may believe the choice to be so clear. To be sure, when we choose love, we choose the pace and the terms of our dreams. And when we pursue our dreams, we find that love may not be as convenient as we would wish. But Chazelle makes a grave error: He leads us to believe that we must choose, that we cannot be so bold as to choose both . . . In the end, Chazelle most likely told his story through La La Land. I wish, however, he would have told a better story. If Mia’s character is truly singing the truth, then there is not only one choice: love or dreams.

And that, I suppose, is why I ended up hating La La Land…In my mind, if Mia and Sebastian would have chosen to embrace the love so clearly portrayed in the film, they could have each pursued their dreams — just differently. Perhaps they would not be able to do so with the same obsessive abandon, and perhaps there would be sacrifices along the way. But they would have learned something much better than the satisfaction of attaining goals — the true nature of love has little to do with getting exactly what you want….Love is, instead, about mutual sacrifice.”

It's true, as believers we know that all love, our relationships, and marriage are held together most strongly through Christ. We know what true love is because He is love.

But what happens in life when your own happily ever after never comes? When you’re longing, waiting, for that “happy” ending, for it to all work out in the end, but it doesn’t? Can we still find good in it all? Even within our own “plot twists” of life?

Because if this movie portrays anything, it does this – in the midst of light moments of whimsically-styled song or dance and romantic flow, it somehow still pushes us to a deeper reality.

Dreams can come true. 

But sometimes, there’s pain involved too.

Because when we’re chasing hard after dreams, and God is weaving our destiny into His plans and purposes, often other things we long for, and think are all a part of the big plan – maybe aren’t.

Life is messy.

Love is too sometimes.

It doesn’t always go like we think it should. But as believers we can be assured, in all our messy, seemingly “wrong endings” of our life stories, God redeems. He has plans and purposes that stretch far beyond our own endings, happy or not. Sometimes our desire to tie a bow and stage a happy end to every storyline isn’t how God works.

Often he takes us outside our own box of thinking, he leads us through struggle and hardship, where we find deeper strength and gain wisdom. He takes our messy lives and even the “not so great” decisions we’ve made, and weaves an amazing story. He does His incredible work of redemption. And then He does something that maybe we’d never thought of – but it’s the best storyline for our lives. Because He sees the big picture, and brings beauty from what’s broken.

Maybe it’s not the fairytale ending, “and they all lived happily ever after.”

But it’s simply this, “they lived.”

Living life to the full, in happy times and sad, in joy-filled and hard, in blessed, and in broken…in it all, they lived.

They really lived.

And maybe that’s the best end.

Or possibly, it’s only the beginning…

He makes all things new. Revelation 21:5


Read more by Debbie McDaniel at www.debbiemcdaniel.comhttps://www.facebook.com/DebbieWebbMcDaniel/, or https://twitter.com/debbmcdaniel.

Photo courtesy: flickr.com

Publication date: January 11, 2017