What La La Land Reminded Me About Love

What La La Land Reminded Me About Love

Warning: The following contains movie spoilers so if you haven’t watched La La Land but intend to, I suggest bookmarking this post and coming back after you’ve watched it.

When I first heard about the movie La La Land, I thought it was about following your dreams in the city of Los Angeles. But after watching it last weekend I soon realized that La La Land was also about that state of being that you’re in when you’re young and in love.

Who doesn’t remember that time in their lives experiencing young love for the first time? You meet the person of your dreams, fall in love and make plans for a wonderful future together. You think you’re so smart and so grown up and you just know that everything is going to happen just as you planned.

But then it doesn’t.

Watching Seb’s and Mia’s relationship bloom in the movie reminded me in many ways about that time in my own life a million moons ago. Then seeing them not end up together left me shaking my fists at the screen lamenting, “Nooooooo! Not them! They should be together!”

But as disappointed as I was that the La La Land sweethearts didn’t get their happily ever after together, the movie did serve to remind me about a few things about love. With my daughter gearing up to go to college in the fall and potentially experiencing it on her own, I’d say it’s a perfect time to remember:

  • True love doesn’t always give you a fairy tale ending. It doesn’t matter what you say or do. It doesn’t matter how much you try to fight it. You’re not always going to get your happily ever after with someone you love. But this doesn’t mean the love wasn’t real. It probably just means your timing was wrong. How many times have you heard the expression “the right love at the wrong time”? This is exactly what happened with Seb and Mia. Their love for each other was definitely right and true but they both had to choose to love themselves more in order to attain their ultimate goals of success.
  • True love that doesn’t end in a fairy tale isn’t a total loss. When you break up with someone that you spent years with, you may have the tendency to look back and think about that time as a waste. But I’m telling you now that it isn’t. Look at Mia and Seb. As Mia was reaching for her dreams of becoming a successful actress, Seb was there to inspire her, to support her and to encourage her. Without him in her life, she might not have been discovered for the movie role in Paris. Now look back at your past true love. I bet you can say that you experienced things with him/her that you might not have if you weren’t together. Maybe he/she gave you a different perspective on life or helped you see things in ways you wouldn’t normally see them. And this ability to see things through another’s person’s perspective probably made you a better person.
  • When a relationship ends, you don’t have to feel bad about letting it go or finding a new love.  Even though you don’t end up with the person you think was the truest, most compatible love of your life, it’s ok. If you find love with someone new, it’s perfectly fine. Life goes on and so do you. But you’re always going to have that gift of knowing love and being loved from the person who got away. Even when it was painfully clear that Seb and Mia were going to have to part ways, they both knew that they would always love each other. If you have experienced this in your life then you’re one of the lucky ones. It is a gift that you should never feel bad about even after the relationship ends and even when you have new love.

In the final scene of the movie, Mia finds herself at Seb’s successful jazz club with her new husband. When Seb steps up to his piano and sees Mia in the audience, it becomes clear that they hadn’t seen each other in many years judging from the look of shock and surprise in both of their faces. Seb begins to play a song that causes Mia to daydream about what their life together might have looked like had made different choices. It was a beautiful vignette, exactly how I pictured their happily ever after.  Eventually the song comes to an end and Mia leaves the club with her husband. Just before she walks out, Mia looks back to find Seb’s eyes on her. After a dramatic pause where they’re just staring at each other and you’re thinking that in a second they’re going to run into each other’s arms to pledge their undying love, something better happens.

They smile at each other.

They plain and simply smile at each other. Then the movie ends.

This initially drove me insane because I was rooting for them and wanted them to have their happy ending with each other. But however bittersweet it was, I know that it was a realistic ending.

Every so often I think about the young love that I experienced. There was no happily ever after for us. We didn’t ride off into the sunset together. We both found other loves and have our own families now. But when I look back at that time with him, I do so with a smile on my face. And I’m thankful. Thankful and happy that I had the chance to love him and that he loved me back, even if it was just a short time.

Experiencing true love at any stage of your life is a gift but experiencing it when you’re young, impressionable and still growing, it’s extra special. Just as it was for Seb and Mia.


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I’m a happiness-seeker and a self-improvement junkie who admits to sometimes indulging in a bit of navel-gazing but also engages in behavior motivated purely by altruism. Follow along with me and together we’ll find your path to happy one smile at a time.

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