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Can we talk about that scene? Emma Stone in La La Land

December 29, 2016

'Can we talk about that scene?' is a periodic instalment where memorable scenes are discussed. Given the nature of these pieces, we will be entering major spoiler territory and the film(s) in question will be stated upfront. For additional entries, please click here.

 

 SPOILER ALERT for La La Land (2016).

 

The first post I ever wrote for this website was more or less about La La Land, and now that the movie has been officially released, there will be many more posts to come. The movie is amazing beyond words, please go and watch it now.

 

I could probably write a 'Can we talk about that scene?' post for almost every scene in this movie, but there was one in particular that got me. Near the end of the film, we fast forward to 5 years later and witness a re-encounter between Emma Stone's Mia and Ryan Gosling's Sebastian. And specifically, I'm referring to that moment when Mia sees the Seb's logo on the wall and locks eyes with Sebastian. At that very moment, they share an intimate connection that no one else in the room is aware of. What's cool about this scene is that as an audience member, you share in on this unstated connection as well. Not novel by at means and done before in countless other films, but for a movie that wears most of its emotions so clearly on its sleeves (which isn't a criticism by any stretch, I mean, it's a musical after all!), this moment just put you at an emotional halt by saying so much with so little.

 

Emma Stone's reaction was perfect, and it's close to impossible not to feel exactly as her character did. Even before the beautiful montage that followed this very brief exchange of glances, you had an understanding of what their shared definition of a 'la la land' was. In a sense, they were both living in their own la la lands when it came to their respective careers, but as much as that felt like an impossibility 5 years ago, the real la la land was actually a world where they could have done this together. The montage solidified this message, and was completely necessary, but that initial moment already painted things so beautifully and clearly for me.

 

I know this is supposed to be one scene only, but I'll cheat a little here and just talk about the very final scene of the movie very briefly. That nod from Ryan Gosling and smile from Emma Stone? If you ever needed a reminder about the true power of cinema, there you go my friend.

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