Here's to the Ones Who Dream
I must say I'm not even a little surprised that the hit movie La La Land clean-swept the Golden Globes tonight, winning all seven of its nominations and setting a record for most Golden Globes wins ever for a movie. I didn't even doubt for one second as I heard the results each time they were announced, and after six wins, it was so obvious it would take home best picture. Honestly, I hadn't seen many of the other nominees, but I can't imagine what it would take to top this masterpiece.
The movie was pure magic on the screen. It combined the art of cinematography, dance, music, acting, and the city that celebrates and welcomes it all, in such a stunning and ethereal production pleasing to the eyes, the ears, and the soul. Ryan Gosling actually learned to play the piano just for this movie (and, yes, it was him actually playing!). The cast put in months of rehearsal and dance lessons just to learn the pieces they would eventually perform in front of the camera. The music, an original score created by Justin Hurwitz (winner of the Golden Globe for best original score), is flawlessly intertwined into the story and enhances every minute in which it appears. I've been listening to the soundtrack on repeat since I saw the film, and I do not expect to ever get tired of it. His music falls into a category of its own, unlike anything I've ever heard and just the most melodically powerful stuff. The Epilogue features a medley of all the other songs featured in the film, and they are strung together in the most beautiful and heart-stopping form, altering each melody to better fit the scene and the mood. The main characters' voices are just perfect for the lead vocals as well, as they are both extremely talented, but not to the point at which they take away focus from the music itself. The voices coexist with the music, blending flawlessly and effortlessly belonging together.
There are endless reasons the movie couldn't have been better cast. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling have to be two of my favorite actors in Hollywood, but the two of them together create a presence onscreen that simply makes movie gold. La La Land elevated the two of them and their onscreen chemistry to an entirely new planet (literally, as they dance through space and starry skies in one of the scenes) and exposed them both as triple threats: masters of acting, singing, and dancing. The storyline they create through these two drastically different characters is relatively simple: they both long to follow their dreams but seem to fall short every time. Gosling sings in the Golden Globe-winning song City of Stars, "Is this the start of something wonderful and new, or one more dream that I cannot make true," in reference to his blossoming relationship with his costar. They've both had bad luck achieving their dreams, but the magic of their relationship helps their dreams come true. It was so unreal, with the musical numbers and theatrical scenery, yet so real, with two modern-day lives intertwined as they face realistic hardships and endure the stress of both 21st century relationships and measures of success. Following their dreams requires they reach outside their comfort zones, which doesn't always lead to immediate success, but, like my dad has always encouraged me, if you follow your heart, the rest will all fall into place.
Personally, I loved the way the movie ended, despite many who may disagree. No spoilers for anyone who has yet to see it, but I feel that the ending simply meant that the two helped each others' dreams come true, and the rest fell into place the way it was supposed to, according to the characters' priorities. Maybe I'm just sick of movies always ending the exact way I predict it will from the beginning, but it sure is refreshing when the obvious ending isn't in fact the one that ends up taking place. Life is that way; you just can't predict where you'll be [X] years from now. It would be beautiful if life fell into place the way we imagined it to, but there's enough beauty in this film, and in life, that a little needs to be left to the unexpected. We evolve as we go through life. We reach goals, we share success with others, we value relationships, and we ultimately decide what is the most important. Just because something doesn't work out, it doesn't mean we aren't eternally grateful for its presence and impact in the course of our lives.
The movie suggests, from early on in the song "Someone in the Crowd," that a stroke of luck often just comes from simply meeting the right person at the right time. The two are so passionate throughout the film, he about his jazz club and her about her acting, and the two about one another once their relationship takes off. As the film comes to a close, Emma sings an ode to "The Fools Who Dream," which surely struck a chord with anyone who longingly wishes to succeed in the arts, a make-or-break, often cutthroat industry that can lead to downfall but can also be the very spark that lights up our lives. La La Land was the spark we all needed this year. A rough year to go down in the history books, but a truly inspiring year for the film industry, as they created a film to never be forgotten, and to encourage the world to never lose sight of the power of dreams.