Is it wrong to dream of Ryan Gosling? (Or why La La Land left you feeling ... sort of La La)
La La Land (2016), which won 6 Oscars, is a fun musical that’s also heart-breakingly poignant.
Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling play two free, drifting souls, who through the randomness of fate, wander into each other’s lives. Through a series of choices, they end up finding success, in a rags to riches story. But through these same series of choices, they also end up risking losing each other.
Will they end up together? Or will they lose each other? I won’t give away the ending in case you haven’t seen it
The main themes are freedom, chasing your dreams, being true to yourself, and perhaps also destiny.
Although it’s such a simple movie, and unremarkable in so many ways, I think it won so many awards because it said something that we all know to be painfully true.
And it’s this. Sometimes freedom to make choices means we end up making the wrong choices. Sometimes chasing our dreams means we end up losing the one we truly love. Sometimes being true to ourselves means we end up alone. Sometimes too many choices mean we’ll forever second-guess ourselves.
In our 21st Century Western individualism storyline, we have construed freedom as the freedom to satisfy our desires.
But that’s not true freedom. According to the Ancient Greeks, freedom to satisfy our each and every desire results in slavery to our desires. Not freedom.
True freedom is the freedom to make good choices. Which often means denying our desires for a higher desire. True freedom is the freedom to be true to someone or something else besides just ourselves.
Interestingly, Jesus claims to be the “truth that will set us free”.
By being true to Jesus, as well as to ourselves, we have exercised our freedom to make the best choice. That's what true freedom is. The freedom to make the best possible choice.
Whether we know it or not, Jesus is our higher desire. And by choosing to satisfy this desire, we will no longer be a slave to our desires, but we will be truly free.