Mia and Sebastian live in Los Angeles, both aspire to be artists in their own way. Mia is a barista trying to reach her big break as an actress while Sebastian is a struggling pianist that has dreams of opening up his own Jazz club . They meet each other unexpectedly and fall in love hoping that they can support one another and achieving ones’ dreams. Sebastian is a passionate pianist that loves jazz and sees that the jazz community is slowly disappearing so he tries to restore it by performing at clubs. They both experience different failures and face a reality where it isn’t easy to make it big but they both had to put in the effort to make it happen.
Sebastian encourages her to follow her own dreams of writing a one woman play after many failed auditions. Sebastian gets an opportunity to go on a music tour with an old friend who plays jazz fusion music. They move in together and spend a lot of time with each other. He overhears Mia saying that he is working on a career to her mom. So even though he doesn’t enjoy this kind of genre, he wanted to make their life better so he goes on the music tour in order to succeed. Sebastian starts to change and Mia notices that he’s abandoned his real dreams to sell out at this job he is doing. She felt that knowing the broke struggling artist that she had met was a much better version than seeing him abandon for quick cash.
Time goes by and Mia debuts her play and Sebastian misses it due to having a band activity. That was the final straw for her and seeing how the play was a flop with no one loving the play, she decides to break up with Sebastian. She drives back to Boulder seeing that she felt like a failure cause of her play. Sebastian receives a phone call from a director who showed up to Mia’s play and was trying to reach out to her because they were interested in having her audition for their film. He drives to her hometown to convince her to go and ends up succeeding. She shows up to her audition and gets asked to tell a story from her life. She sings a beautiful song talking about her aunt who suffered from alcoholism who always believed in chasing ones’ dreams. Sebastian and Mia find out she did well and she hits her big break, he tell her to do it despite the uncertainty of them being together.
Years later, we see her make it big and is married with a daughter. Her and her husband go to a jazz club for a date and Mia sees the jazz club’s logo only to realize that she has stepped into Sebastian’s jazz club. It appears he has fulfilled his own dream and he performs on stage while she watches. He plays the song that brought them together in the first place and we see a dream sequence that flashes before both their eyes of what could have been had everything gone perfect the way they wanted it to be. He finishes the song, she smiles at him and ends up walking out of the club with her husband.
It goes to show that la la land is a metaphor for the fantasy land we imagine in our heads for having it all. What I love most about this movie is simply that life doesn’t always give us everything we want. I think often times we imagine that every love story always has a happy ending but this movie gave us a different reality. I think it’s more about how sometimes we have to make a choice and sometimes that means not having it all. I imagine that sometimes you have to choose between passion and having the one you love most.
I don’t think Mia and Sebastian had the best relationship. I think it was glamorized and you could tell that they were very passionate about their careers more. They were so consumed in it and didn’t prioritize their relationship. They were great in terms of being supportive and help fill the void of their failures. They fell in love, but they just didn’t have the right timing. I think they were placed in each other’s life to be a good chapter, but I don’t think they were meant for the long run. He played a strong role in her life in helping her achieve her dreams and I think that sometimes it’s more than enough. I like to believe that they get back together some day, but I think the beauty of this film is that it’s all left to our interpretation. Even though they didn’t end up together, I believe there is still the respect and love for the chapter they shared together.
Here’s to the ones who dream, foolish as they may seem. Here’s to the hearts that break, here’s to the mess we make. I trace it all back to then;
her, and the snow, and the Seine. Smiling through it, she said she’d do it again.