As I’m writing this, I’m fresh out of the cinema, where I just saw La La Land, the first movie in years to score 14 (!) Oscar nominations. Pretty crazy, especially when you think about the fact that it’s a musical. I personally love musicals, like the really old black and white ones, with gorgeous women and handsome men, and romance oozing out of every pore. Show me a movie with Gene Kelly and I’ll swoon from the moment it opens until I see ‘The End’ appear, and quite some time after. I know musicals aren’t for everybody, and I get that, but it’s pure escapism to me. It’s a dream world where everything turns out just the way it’s supposed to. And that is exactly why I feel completely disillusioned at this moment. I am going to issue a spoiler alert here: don’t read any further if you haven’t seen the movie and it’s on your to-do list.
Personally, I am a hopeful yet realistic romantic. I know love at first sight is unlikely and relationships aren’t all roses. I don’t expect men to bring me flowers, or write me love letters, or pay on first dates and walk me home. It just doens’t seem realistic anymore but for some reason, despite these insights, I just can’t stop being a romantic at heart. I haven’t seriously dated a lot of people, but I’ve always believed that I’d meet a wonderful guy I could be happy with for a long, long time. Lately, my hopefulness has been fading though. Why is that you ask? Well, my realistic side has given my hopeful romantic side a few uppercuts it hasn’t recovered from. I’ll be more specific. I had a moment with a guy (nice and random, I know) who I have to see on a regular basis for a while. The more I get to know him, the more I like him. My romantic side is obviously fluttering along like a unicorn bouncing on top of a rainbow, but my realistic side is trying very hard to keep me grounded. Because this side of me knows there is about a 0.1% chance this guy likes me too (I tend to fall for the unavailable ones or the ones that just don’t want me so this is a good estimate) and that the spontaneous connection I think I feel is completely imaginary or just good old fashioned friendliness. But still my hopeful romantic side is thinking of dates, long conversations and even longer kisses. I just can’t stop myself from doing this, hard as I may try. And, to be honest, I don’t know if I’d want to stop, because chances are I will end up a cynical, maybe even bitter, old maid if I do.
So knowing my realistic side is slowly taking over, I was genuinely looking forward to floating around in a romantic bubble for a few hours. The universe and Damien Chazelle (the director) had other plans. The movie is quite romantic and light-hearted, until we get to the part where we skip 5 years ahead.
Attention, spoiler ahead!
She’s made it big and returns to L.A.. She’s got a child and a husband, which is … not the Main Man. Uppercut number one. She ends up in Main Man’s jazz bar, which he named the way she told him to (aww). He sees here and starts playing their song. Uppercut number 2. But we’re not done yet. What comes next is a quick reprise of the entire movie with one gut wrenching twist: he makes ONE different choice and they stay together. The song ends and we come back to the actual story. They share one last glance and that’s it. The end and knock out. I was honestly shocked about the movie ending this way and i genuinely felt so sad and disheartened. I did not need the universe to remind me of the fact that my choices have a lot of consequences and that they may influence my life forever. Or even worse: that the decisions others make in their lives influence mine. That’s not why I went and watched a, supposedly, romantic musical. That’s not how these movies are supposed to end! They’re supposed to overcome the obstacles and misunderstandings, kiss and dance into the freaking sunset together. So, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be spending the rest of my evenings these next few weeks watching some MGM classics. Maybe that way I’ll be able to pull my romantic side off the ropes and avoid being that bitter, old maid.