Lala Land: perseverance and (almost) dead dreams (a very late review)


*may contain spoiler*

I don’t think it is one of the best films I’ve watched. The film has nothing new to offer. Not to mention I haven’t watched other highly acclaimed Hollywood films of 2016. As far as I concern, it may not even be one of the best of the year. But, calling it one of the worst is also an overkill.

I’ve seen comments on Facebook who said it’s a sad attempt to re-create Grease, which I’ve watched as well. They are both romantic musicals….and that’s literally the only obvious similarity between them. In fact, I can think of many differences between the two, like:

Grease is a feel-good film with a happy ending while Lala Land is a about struggles and heartbreaks.

Grease is a Rock ‘n’ Roll musical while Lala Land is a Jazzy one.

From the title alone, it’s obvious Lala Land is a self-aware musical who realises about musicals’ obvious lack of realism. Grease lacks such intelligence.

Grease barely uses special effects while Lala Land uses them lavishly.

Grease features high schoolers while Lala Land features adults who work full time.

Grease was shot in late 1970’s and set in 1950’s. Lala Land was shot and set in 2010s.

Those six traits are more than enough to refute the Grease-wannabe ‘criticism’. But, I admit Grease is stronger in two aspects: its choreography and its status as a classic…which is more a case of memorability and old age rather than actual quality. Therefore, it cannot be counted as a strength.

Anyway, judging from this article, you can tell I am going to talk about human perserverance. So, I’ll start with a question: how do humans persevere in pursuing their dreams?

Seriously, how? How are they so undeterred by the long series of rejection? By their crippling sense of deprecation? By how the entire world seems pinning against them? The main characters experienced all of those.

It began with them possessing healthy amount of self-esteem and bright outlook of the future. For many years, they were optimistically pursuing their dreams. Then, very gradually, they became more and more defeatist. Their relationship went downhill. They even momentarily succumbed to their fates. Dreams fading fast.

Eventually, the dreams did come true. They achieved their desired careers which they were naturally talented at. But, it was not wholly joyful. Like every success story, theirs won’t exist without personal sacrifices. We literally cannot have all the nice things. It’s a bittersweet tale. Now, to actually answer my question…

Maybe resilience is an answer. So, the question should be, ‘how to be resilient?’. But, I also wonder if resilience has its limit. I cannot answer that because I’m not resilient. Resilient people out there, does resilience have a limit? Does it?

I don’t know if the characters are resilient. They persevere for many years and almost gave up their dreams. They worked hard and they didn’t take opportunities for granted. They didn’t believe in luck and easy results.

Maybe their loved ones are also a factor. They can provide us emotional and pragmatic supports. Well, assuming if they have such loved ones. Some people don’t have one near them. Some only have toxic ones who are willing to do anything to crush the dreams. In those cases, what should they do?

The characters had each other and supported each other, no matter what. The relationship goes beyond mutual romantic attractions. Without each other, I’m sure their destinations would be a lot harder to reach. Each of them still have their living and kind loved ones. But, they don’t show support. At least, not on-screen.

Maybe it’s optimism. Again, I don’t know how to possess it. I’m also unsure if it’s a significant factor in one’s success. It’s also mistaken as ‘forced positivity’, which discourages us from dealing with negativity healthily and is very harmful.

As I said, the characters were initially optimistic. When the optimism ran dry, they didn’t force positivity on themselves. If they did, they would be in greater emotional wrecks and probably go even further from their dreams. The ending would be a lot bleaker.

I know that my hypothetical factors of perseverance are erratic, far-fetched and too theoretical. But, I genuinely want to have it. It would be more than advantageous to my life, especially with my current state. I’m desperate enough to even reference fictional characters.


Author: The Stammering Dunce

I write blogs. I love to act smarter than I really am and I pretend that my opinions are of any significance. Support me on Patreon:

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