mary🦋’s review published on Letterboxd:
A few days ago it happened: I finally rewatched the movie I always called “my favorite“ whenever I was asked to pick one. But honestly I don’t like picking out a “favorite movie” because there are simply too many, too many that I attach different memories, feelings and meanings to. Too many that I can’t compare. But out of commodity I always answered with “yeah probably La La Land”. And it is undoubtalby one of my all time favorites ever, but then again I feel like I can’t call any movie “the one”. And that‘s one of the reasons why I wanted to rewatch it, I wanted to see if it actually holds up to the status of “favorite movie“...
I had seen it for the first and only time sometime back in january 2017 and was ever since too afraid to see it again. I feared the love I was building around and upon the memory of (seeing) the actual movie would simply never hold up to a rewatch and that it’s actually just “my favorite movie” because over time I perfectioned everything about it in my mind (I ended up deleting all the (minor) flaws I had with it, heck I even erased/forgot the fact john legend is in this)... I hope you understand what I mean, and if not maybe this messy text I wrote a while ago will explain better, idk maybe someone will even know that specific feeling/fear. Others will probably think something like “how could you not wanna rewatch such a movie???“, well, idk, I just couldn‘t for a long time
I began feeling like it has become “too“ perfect to be real, that the movie I had perfectioned in my mind and saved under “favorite“ was actually miles away from the actual film...
But let’s start at the beginning. It was during a time of uncertainty, loneliness and unhappiness that I first watched it. A time that, thanks to this movie, had become a time of change and probably the biggest step towards the cinephile-me that I am now. Seeing it then was in fact such a cathartic, electrifying, emotional and changing experience for me; mostly because it ultimately is a story about dreaming and escapism within a medium that to me has become exactly that.
I remember how it was probably the first movie I immediately gave 5 stars without giving it a second thought. How I almost instinctively typed “la la land analysis” into the youtube search bar beacuse I just wanted to know so much more about it. How this was most likely the birth of what has become my biggest passion to date: movies, to watch as many as possible, talk, hear, read about them. And how it awakened the thirst of knowing what story is behind them, who is behind them, how they came to be, why they came to be, what they mean etc... and even the desire to maybe actually one day write a screenplay, or be a cinematographer, or a director, or a professional reviewer (despite my now modest talent at writing), or any other role in the movie business.
In other words: La La Land opened a door into a dream bubble with soundproof walls made out of movies, a bubble to escape into and to isolate myself from the outside tumult. The door into the world of movies, a world that gave me so, so much, a world that changed me, a world that gave me shelter and a world that I don‘t wanna get out of, despite knowing about its (unreal) nature.
But recently life started pulling me step by step back out of said bubble and to slowly close the door behind me, pushing me back into (harsh) reality, kind of forcing dreams to take a backseat and letting unhappiness and loneliness take the upper hand. And I missed it. I missed my La La Land bubble. I missed escaping into that world.
Slowly the need to go back into that dream started creeping back: I started thinking that maybe I should actually rewatch it, even if I was afraid that the idea of “the perfect movie“, “the favorite movie“ was all just an illusion and that on a rewatch the movie would reveal itself to be far less than what I made it.
But I felt it was worth the try to go back into the movie-bubble. And even if I know that combatting unhappiness, insecurity and anxiety by seeking refuge in a dream world isn‘t at all a longterm solution... but still better than anything happening around and inside me that I‘m trying to understand.
So now I challenged myself and brought my trembling hand to press play.
There was a weird feeling fear and anticipation all over my body that made me want to reconsider, but then !boom! the first notes of Another Day Of Sun resounded and it was sure the movie had me in its irresistible grip. From there on, just like the first time, I was glued to the screen from the first scene to the last, enthralled, I sat there without moving, not wanting to miss anything, soaking up every frame, every color, every note, every word of the movie.
It truly felt as if I was watching it for the first time... which is an amazing feeling that I never had during any rewatch of any movie ever, and something I hoped to experience one day, to repeat “the first time”.
Needless to say, my fear of it not holding up to my memory/expectation was completely obliterated. It was as perfect as I remembered/constructed it. If not better.
It transported me once again into the dream-bubble, in a sort of parallel time where every emotion is hightened. I couldn’t get the constant grin out of my face, I couldn’t stop tapping my feet to the rhythm and humming along to every song, and I couldn’t help but get watery yet smiling eyes, only to then finally let go and cry shamelessly during «Audition» and throughout the epilogue. It was such a relief.
In other words: it made me happy. It reopened the door to the happy-place I know I can go back to in dark moments. It proved itself once again to be a light at the end of a tunnel and an inspiration to anyone who dreams.
I could go on talking about the central theme of being a dreamer, or any other theme, the cinematography, the colors, the music, the lyrics, the hommages, the acting, the (more or less) hidden symolisms, etc, but I’m not gonna try because countless reviews and videos have covered it better than I ever could. Just know that it made me very emotional and that it amazes me every time I think about how such “simple“ things, but in the right movie, can transport you from one emotion all the way through the spectrum and back. Few other movies (if not none) were able to do that to me. And that’s why I admire and love it so much, and part of the reason why this is such a special film to me.
So that was it, my one personal diary entry of the year. Maybe I will delete it, I don’t know. I just felt like writing down something about my personal relationship with this movie would help me, and the relative anonymity on this platform is why I published it here. I don‘t even know if anyone cares about what I just wrote, but that‘s not really important (please don‘t take it personal), just that I write down my feelings, ‘cause that‘s something I do far too less, I hold too much to myself and don‘t express it... but movies like this encourage me, to say what I feel, to follow my instincts, to try to better myself, to try to be happy...