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I Decided To Rewatch La La Land And My Opinion On The Ending Has Changed Immensely As I've Grown Up

 Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in La La Land.
Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in La La Land.

So I decided to do something crazy – I rewatched La La Land. 

I know—as much as that movie is beautiful and a tremendous modern-day musical, I had sworn off of it for years. It's not because I dislike the music, cinematography, or even the acting. It's one of Emma Stone's best movies, as well as Ryan Gosling's (and I still think he deserved an Oscar win for it).

No, I pushed off rewatching for some time because I just couldn't stomach La La Land’s ending. Call it the romantic in me, but it didn't sit right with me for years. But, I decided to check out the film once again as an adult—and I have to say, my opinion on the ending has changed drastically. Let's get into it.

Ryan Gosling in La La Land.
Ryan Gosling in La La Land.

Let's Start Off By Saying I Hated The Ending As A Teenager

The first thing I must put out there is that I was not too fond of this movie's ending as a teenager.

It's hard to believe that La La Land came out so long ago, but I was only eighteen when I first saw it. I was in my first real relationship (and I am still in that relationship now), and this was one of the first movies we saw together. We laughed, cried, and smiled at the love story on the screen.

But of course, both of us (as the emotional people we are) were devastated by the ending. Even if we don't watch the best rom-coms all the time or even watch the sappier dramatic romances, we still always love a happy ending. At the time, this was not a happy one.

This film turned me off so much that any time I did happen to watch it, I'd walk out before the ending came on. I couldn't get past it. But now, everything has changed.

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in La La Land
Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in La La Land

Relationships Sometimes Don't Last And Love Doesn't Always Win

In the seven years since I saw this film in its entirety, I've grown up a lot. I graduated college during the year we shall not mention, struggled through my own issues, landed a full-time gig, and still, to this day, am growing ever more. My mindset on so many things has changed.

And the ending of La La Land has joined that neverending list.

Some of the main themes of the ending have hit me harder as an adult, but the biggest is that sometimes, relationships don't last, and love doesn't always win. Granted, I have been blessed in my relationship, and we have found ways to work through any issue we've had over the last few years. However, I've noticed through countless other examples that relationships often take many sacrifices that some people aren't willing to make.

Whether it be for career reasons, personal reasons, or other things, those sacrifices and that unknown entity called "the future" can lead us to break up, whether after a short relationship or a long one. It could be that it's not the right time, or they don't have the same values, whatever the case may be.

The love can still be there, but if love is inhibiting your reality of functioning together and growing as a couple, then it's not working. And that, honestly, makes this one of the most realistic love stories I've ever seen.

Emma Stone in La La Land.
Emma Stone in La La Land.

You Can Still Be Happy For Someone Even From A Distance

One of the biggest punches to the gut was seeing Mia and Sebastian look at each other in those final moments across the Jazz Club. At this point, they're just strangers who have both gone through entirely different paths in life. He opened his club, she began succeeding in her career, and she had a family with someone else.

But that look—that soft, discreet smile they share—makes all the difference. Even though they aren't the same people they were together, they are still so happy for each other.

Mia can smile at what Sebastian has accomplished, and he can do the same; it's heartbreaking, because we saw their love story from the beginning. I think that's beautiful—that despite their circumstances, they still show just how proud they are, even with just a look.

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in their home film during the dream sequence in La La Land.
Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in their home film during the dream sequence in La La Land.

It's Okay To Imagine What Could Have Been – As Long As You Separate It From Reality

I think one of the worst parts of the ending that I hated was that it showed what their life could have been in that montage to their love theme, and it broke something inside of me at the time. I just kept thinking, "How could they not work it out? They loved each other so much. They could have done something."

But now, older and slightly wiser (at least in my opinion), I get it. That moment of imagining what could have been. It's okay to think about it as long as it doesn't distract you from your current-day reality, which you also worked hard to achieve.

I've often wondered what would have happened if my current relationship hadn't worked out. I would have probably ended up staying home for a few years, possibly working out of New York City since it's closest to where I originally lived. I might have worked at an entirely different paper or industry or met someone altogether different. Heck, I could have lived the life of a character in those shows about New York if I wanted to.

But, then I think back to now, and I think of the man I love, and I remember everything we have ever gone through and how much we have grown together. And yeah, sometimes you can think about what could have been, but there's nowhere else I'd rather be than where I am.

That's what that last montage is about. Mia and Sebastian both wonder what could have been, but Mia goes her separate way, and so does he, because they are happy where they are despite it all. They at least have each other to thank for guiding them to where they are now.

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in La La Land
Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in La La Land

Mia And Sebastian's Love Story Is A Modern Day Tragedy

While Mia and Sebastian's story initially seems to be one of love, it has now become a modern-day tragedy that I'm sure many people of my generation can relate to.

La La Land’s Ending: How Damien Chazelle Pulled It Off

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in La La Land
Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in La La Land

If you're a fan of La La Land's ending, here is how the director pulled it off. 

No relationships are the same, and La La Land perfectly exemplifies that. Sometimes, things work out better, as they have with me. But other times, life gets in the way, and we have to make choices for others and ourselves.

With Mia and Sebastian, it wasn't easy, but they chose their careers. While it's tragic, it's understandable in today's day and age.

If we're being honest, if I want to feel good during a musical, I'll go and rewatch Mamma Mia! or rewatch Hairspray for the umpteenth time. At the end of the day, though, La La Land is a unique film that I think everyone my age – heck, even younger or older – should watch.

It's precisely the kind of musical we need more of—one that shows people choosing their own happiness. Sometimes, that doesn't mean it's with the person who makes you the happiest, but with yourself. I wish I could have understood it more as a teenager.

At least now that I've rewatched it, I can go back to watching the best enemies-to-lovers movies or the funniest comedies out there. However, if you haven't seen La La Land in some time, give it a shot. Your opinion may change, just like mine.

Or you'll still despise the ending; who knows? That's the whole point – your life, your choices.