The Notebook

'Imagination will take you everywhere'

The Fools Who Dream: Why La La Land is Such a Hit


I’m listening to The Fools Who Dream; the tinkle of a piano and the melody of Emma Stone’s voice is floating around my head. I’ve been listening to the La La Land soundtrack on repeat ever since I stepped out of the cinema. The song is about Mia’s aunt who is in Paris – it’s all about overcoming challenges and the strange thrill of living in a foreign place, something that I can relate to (I am studying in France after all). Although I’m not planning to leap into the Seine any time soon.

The movie musical won 7 Golden Globes, received 14 Oscar nominations (equaling the record set by Titanic) and is taking my thoughts away from deadlines and into the heady delights of old Hollywood. It is pure feel-good, skipping-down-the-street kind of joy; a timely antidote to the depressing news of late. Precisely, I expect, why it has struck a chord with so many – viewers and critics alike.

I watched the film two weeks ago, fittingly, in an old theatre transformed into a very cool cinema (Genesis – a must to check out if you’re in east London) and can’t stop thinking about it (or humming the catchy tunes); the gorgeous costumes, the not-so perfect singing, Ryan Gosling playing the piano, Emma Stone twirling in that yellow dress, the long sweeping panning shots, the sunny sets, the story. Everything.

But mostly I felt a sense of identifying with the main characters; strip away the glitz and the glamour and you have two struggling dreamers in a world that continually crushes their dreams. I may not live in LA or want to become an actress, but I am a young person hoping to achieve my goals and find success in an increasingly competitive and unstable job market. The theme of rejection and disappointment runs through the story, something I know I will have to get used to as I climb up the ladder of life. But there is another much stronger feeling that radiates throughout the film, and that is hope.

Hope for recognition, hope for love, hope for success, hope for adventure. This sense of optimism is what makes the film so beautiful, and in a world where – at times – it’s easy to feel a little lost, it’s worth being reminded of that. Yes this film isn’t as important as Moonlight, the film about a gay African American growing up in Miami, but it’s not a frivolous, trivial film as some have said. Because although having a song and a dance doesn’t solve any big world problems, it does make people happy, and what is life without happiness?

So here’s to the fools who dream.

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This entry was posted on January 28, 2017 by in Culture, Film, Music, Personal and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .
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