Sunday, January 1, 2017

Here's To The Fools

Now that I've had a few weeks to calm down after seeing La La Land, I can finally control my brain to actually form words about what I was seeing. It was magical, inspiring, transformative. I actually hadn't seen any articles or reviews about it before, apart from the trailer. Rarely do I go in without much insight, but this was definitely a worthy experience of losing myself in movie magic.

On the surface, it's just another love story between two beautiful stars mixed with Chazelle's characteristic music motif. But what he creates is an unforgettable journey through space and time -- just kidding (mostly). It really is an incredible two hours though. After just a couple minutes, you'll wish you were singing and dancing around LA along with the perfect Gosling and Stone.

From here on out, spoilers beware

What most people are upset about, or talking about the most, is the tragic ending. What was a delightful escape for the entire film becomes a heartbreaking end for the pair that lights up the screen. But isn't it nice to have some reality in a mostly fictitious landscape? As Mia and Sebastian do, shouldn't we live for the journey and not just the ending? In another universe, they are for sure still together and as happy as in that dream sequence. This leads me to wonder: did they need to break up in order to achieve their dreams? Possibly, but they pushed each other to persevere their own dreams. And even though they have their weak moments, they never want to give that specific dream up. Sadly, this draws them apart and into different lives once again. I live by a saying that every single person comes into your life for a reason. Seb and Mia may have become fools for each other, but they met for the ultimate reason: for their love to inspire their own passion for life. 

In that last glance with Mia in the doorway (which to this day makes me cry imagining it), their eyes say 'I love you, I'm so proud of what you've created.' And that to me is true love. Love may or may not be eternal and it definitely isn't always kind. Regardless, it recurs throughout one's life. Their love for their careers was the greatest during their relationship and without that (Mia's exhaustion being defeated through auditions and Sebastian joining a band where he knew he wasn't reaching his full potential), they couldn't even satisfy each other. 

His juxtaposition of the audiences' ideal ending with the more real and tragic end love is the cherry on top of a magnificent film. You get lost in the beauty that they have created and you don't want to escape. The classic Hollywood backdrop, a happy-go-lucky love story, is perfect to showcase the effortless on-screen chemistry between Gosling and Stone, almost tricking the audience to assume a perfect ending. So whether you love it or hate it, I think it is the most perfect way to end a movie. To make what is happening on-screen more than just plot. To not only make it surprising, but also to reshape the Classical Hollywood formula of a happy ending for modern times. (Also, if you haven't seen Mommy by Xavier Dolan, please do yourself the favor and watch that now.)

Is there anything I didn't like? No because even John Legend's interlude with 'Start A Fire' is catchy. Also, when you think you've hit the "slow part" of the movie after they're playing phone tag, Seb shows up and they fight. On the other hand, my grandma loathed the opening's unrealistic car-hopping number. But to me, the film's tightrope act between reality and fiction is what keeps you so emotionally engaged till the very end. Some parts are really fun and imaginative (who expected hundreds of people to get out and start dancing and singing on the 405?), some are pure beauty (Mia walking into the party, snow falling, the music crescendoing, the variety of bold colors dazzling every inch of the frame), and some awfully real (Mia coming to tears during first audition in her -again vibrantly- blue coat; well, all of Stone and Gosling's acting for that matter).

On another note, do I even need to say anything about the music? I've listened to the entire OST everyday for the past 3 weeks. So that's probably why I remembered the film on second viewing almost shot-for-shot. Chazelle uses jazz as a backdrop just like in Whiplash, and it is quite interesting to see music become almost a third character in the story. I'll be interested to see what he brings in his third picture-- maybe creating a jazz trilogy of sorts. 

Here are some of my favorite moments from the soundtrack that blow you away on-screen:
-The entire first number, because how could you not be rejuvenated every morning after listening to it
-The crescendo in 'Someone In The Crowd' with Mia approaching the pool (mentioned above) 
-Stone laughing while singing in her duet with Gosling. You can tell it's pure joy and it makes my heart melt for her more and more
-Planetarium. Easily the whole track but the swooping stretches of ballroom music bring me to tears 

If you can't tell, I'm trying to ramble because there are an endless number of wonderful things to discuss about this movie. It will easily win Best Picture at the Oscars among many other deserving nominations. So if you haven't seen it but knowing the ending makes you want to see it now, GO. If you've already seen it, go again! Because if loving is dreaming, then let me be a crazy fool. 

New Year, New Me

1/2 (frozen) banana
large handful spinach
1 TB chia or flax seeds
12 grapes (because why not partake in a fun Spanish tradition)
1/2 TB ginger
carrot juice, enough to cover the ingredients
1/2 lemon, juiced

Top off with ice and honey. Happy 2017!