Reliving La La Land: 4 hidden lessons in the montage

La La Land won the 2017 Oscar for best picture at the Academy Awards. Oh wait, no it did not:

Anyway, La La Land was one of my favorite movies of 2016. I love montages, so naturally my favorite part of the movie is the 7-minute montage at the end. The montage comes after the shocking revelation that not only has Emma’s character “made it” in Hollywood, but she is also married–not to Ryan Gosling but to the guy from The Wonders/That Thing You Do (yes, they are a real band they just had a reunion which you can view here). And Ryan Gosling opened his jazz club, using the logo Emma created for him in an if-you build-it-she-will-come Field of Dreams scenario (it’s also similar to the scenario in The Notebook when Ryan Gosling builds a mansion for another red head, Rachel McAdams). Three reasons I am fascinated with the montage and the lessons therein:

  1. It brings to the forefront of the mind how important little decisions are. Ryan and Emma’s characters make a few decisions differently and bam they are together dancing away into the stars. We make decisions everyday. We decide what clothes to wear, what food to eat, to go to work or not, to follow our dreams or not. Being mindful of our decisions helps us to live deliberately and brings awareness to our own agency.
  2. My biggest critique of the movie, however, is that the montage takes away all the struggle the two characters overcome throughout the movie. How are you to know peace, happiness, and love if you never experienced the opposite? Going through trials and difficult situations, working out those situations, and learning how to communicate through difficult times will lead to a stronger, healthier relationship. Even when not in a relationship, going through hardships builds problem-solving skills and resilience, leading to higher self-esteem and satisfaction in daily life.
  3. Lastly, we cannot expect montage-Ryan Gosling to sweep us off our feet and make our dreams come true. You are in charge of your own destiny. It’s crucial to have a partner that supports you. However, your significant other cannot do everything for you. The only way to achieve your goals and have success is through your own hard work, time, and dedication.
  4. Relationships are give-and-take. It’s interesting that in the montage it seems Ryan’s character does not end up with his ultimate dream of owning a jazz club. He helps Emma to achieve her dreams but loses his own dream in the process. Don’t lose yourself in a relationship.

Does this montage remind you of any situations you’ve faced in life? Add your thoughts and comments below!


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