By Walter S. Coppage
I have seen “La La Land” three times. Shannon has seen it four times. We bought the poster to frame and hang in our home. We put the soundtrack on in the morning as we’re getting ready. We love everything about this movie from the laughs to the tears.
A landmine of spoilers ahead.
Five years later. Mia is a big movie star but Seb is not the man she’s with. She’s with 50-year-old Guy Patterson from The Wonders. I hoped (my whole theater hoped) that was it. Then they came home and there was a baby. The baby is going to keep us from hoping Seb wins her back and they run away together. It’s like “Cast Away.” Once you see the baby you know Chuck Noland is never getting Kelly back.
Then when they go to Seb’s club and she sees the logo, she knows who is there. Seb steps to the mic and sees her. He doesn’t know she has a kid. All he sees is Guy Patterson, Seb’s gotta feel like he can get her back, but he doesn’t.
Seb sits at the piano and plays that first song Mia ever heard. Then you see the montage of what if he’d done it all differently. If he kissed her upon meeting her, if he turned John Legend down trading money and commercial success for true love. If Seb went to Paris with Mia, the launching point of her career. None of that “You have to put everything into it alone” speech.
Seb finishes the last notes of his song and they make eye contact before she leaves. That longing and sorrow that things could’ve been different. Fade to black.
We could’ve had a sweeping ending where they end up together. Mia could’ve walked into the club single after five years and see Seb once again. Everyone would’ve loved that ending but would we be talking about it afterward?
“This is the dream! It’s conflict and it’s compromise, and it’s very, very exciting!”
My heart broke the last ten minutes of the movie. When I see the ending and especially the montage, it reminds me that I have the love of my life. If you put enough mileage on it arguments, compromises, time and life can pull you apart. It’s knowing not one thing breaks people up usually. It’s the long game that does it.
When I think about the ending, I try to be mindful that all those things that try to break us need a different perspective. Since seeing “La La Land” when I’ve gotten nit picky with Shannon it causes me to step back and realize that this little crap doesn’t matter. I’ve found this amazing girl who married me and loves me despite my flaws. The movie makes me want to make things as larger than life as that montage. If you have a great love, you have to hold onto it like Seb should’ve done. Now all he can do is love her from afar. We should all shoot for the montage.