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One of the best things about having a daughter that’s getting older and more mature, is the opportunity to see something other than animated movies at the cinema. 

Today, per her request (and with her own money!) La niña numero uno treated me to a movie date. She even bought me a frozen Coke, which scored her extra brownie points! 

Our movie choice today was picked entirely on a whim: La La Land starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling.*Spoilers ahead.*

I have to say, this is one of THE best films I’ve seen in a long, long time. There was such an “Old Hollywood” feel to this picture and it made me nostalgic for the movies I grew up watching as a kid. 

I loved musicals when I was growing up, and I now have a new one to add to my list of favorites. The original music and lyrics written for this movie are outstanding, heartfelt, fun, and moving pieces that weave a tapestry for this love story with a bittersweet ending.

I love Emma Stone. She’s different, quirky, and absolutely believable in any role she takes on. Her comedic timing is impeccable and her emotion is always palpable. 

Gosling, while obviously an internet meme sensation is apparently gifted in more ways than for which he usually receives credit. I’ve seen him in some fantastic dramatic roles (The Place Beyond the Pines, for example) and he proved in his performance in La La Land that he is simply good across the board.

The dance scenes between Stone and Gosling are probably what reminded me the most of Old Hollywood. They were iconic, graceful and make a person want to take up ballroom dancing just because they made it look so fun, easy, and like something we should do in everyday life. 

Sometimes in a movie like this, one element or the other is lacking. The music might be great but the story is lacking. Or the cinematography is good but the music is “meh” – after seeing this film, I now understand how it won so many Golden Globes and it was absolutely worthy of every last one of them. 

The story itself is one that mainly those with an artistic mindset will appreciate. There are so many nuances and subtleties that tell the story, even when the actors aren’t speaking. Details. The details give it richness and substance and keep the artistic elements going when the music stops. 

Artistic minds and dream chasers will relate to this story because of the very realistic portrayal of what we seek, experience and try to overcome as artists living in a world that often treats us like we’re crazy: authenticity, rejection, belief in ourselves and our passion. 

If there is a lesson to be learned from the story, it’s that all dreams come at a price and happy endings rarely, if ever, happen on our terms. There are impossible decisions to make when pursuing a dream, and while we might end up with something wonderful, a price is almost always paid in the process. But the journey, the beautiful tapestry that is created along the way, is itself a work of art.

I can’t think of a better person to have seen this film with besides my daughter. It was a beautiful experience to share with my kindred spirit, believer-in-dreams, artistic-soul having offspring.

The best song of the movie, in my opinion, was “The Fools Who Dream” – the lyrics are below.

“My aunt used to live in Paris.
I remember, she used to come home and tell us these stories about being abroad and I remember she told us that she jumped into the river once, barefoot.

She smiled…

Leapt, without looking
And tumbled into the Seine
The water was freezing
She spent a month sneezing
But said she would do it again

Here’s to the ones who dream
Foolish as they may seem
Here’s to the hearts that ache
Here’s to the mess we make

She captured a feeling
Sky with no ceiling
The sunset inside a frame

She lived in her liquor
And died with a flicker
I’ll always remember the flame

Here’s to the ones who dream
Foolish as they may seem
Here’s to the hearts that ache
Here’s to the mess we make

She told me:
“A bit of madness is key
To give us new colors to see
Who knows where it will lead us?
And that’s why they need us”

So bring on the rebels
The ripples from pebbles
The painters, and poets, and plays

And here’s to the fools who dream
Crazy as they may seem
Here’s to the hearts that break
Here’s to the mess we make

I trace it all back to then
Her, and the snow, and the Seine
Smiling through it
She said she’d do it again”