La La Land-City of Los Angeles or Dream-like State?

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Warning, there may be a few spoilers ahead!

When I asked my mother on the way to the cinema what she thought the phrase ‘La La Land’ meant, I was quite surprised to hear that her answer was completely different in comparison to my own. Whereas I immediately identified the term as another way in which to refer to the city of Los Angeles, my mother believed that this expression had only one definition, the fictional dream-like state people supposedly lived in when they are disconnected from their bleak and hopeless realities.

After both my father and sister agreed with my mother when I asked them the same question, I wasn’t so sure that my definition of the phrase was correct. Nevertheless, after looking to Google for a definitive answer, we soon learned that we were all right and started speculating about whether the fact that this expression had two different meanings was the reason why it was used as the title for this particular Hollywood film.

After watching the entire film, it can be argued that this phrase was not only used to refer to the city of Los Angeles in which the narrative of the film was set, but was also chosen in reference to the final dream-like montage of the narrative in which the main characters Sebastian (played by Ryan Gosling) and Mia (played by Emma Stone) live out the rest of their lives together as if they had not separated as they had done so in their realities. However, it can also be said that the title can be linked to the way in which La La Land represents what it is like to work within the creative and cultural industries.

Following the lives of a struggling jazz pianist called Sebastian and an aspiring actress named Mia, it is evident that the first half of this film portrays the brutal reality of working within the creative and cultural industries, especially as an actress within the city of Los Angeles. By representing Sebastian accepting a job as the keyboardist in a modern jazz band that he really doesn’t want to be a part of just until he can afford to open his own jazz club and Mia working at a coffee shop whilst auditioning until she can finally land the role of her career, the writers of La La Land have arguably captured the competitiveness that can be experienced in this city of stars.

Despite the fact that the first half of the film portrays the struggle and harsh reality of trying to get a job and a steady income within a few of the creative and cultural industries, it can be said that the second half of this film that went on to win a total of six Oscars, seven Golden Globes and five BAFTAs during awards season, presents a fanciful and arguably unrealistic ending as both Sebastian and Mia’s dreams of becoming successful within the creative and cultural industries come to fruition.

Although these two characters may seem like they live in ‘La La Land’ as they fantasise about what might have been if they’d have stayed together within the narrative of this film, it is evident that the same can be said about the writers. By representing these characters that live in Los Angeles within this dream-like state more than once, it can definitely be said that the title of La La Land is definitely the most appropriate title for this particular Hollywood film.