La La Land: Reflections

Yesterday was the perfect Saturday spent in the neighborhood. A slow morning, with chores accomplished at a leisurely pace, cinnamon rolls and coffee with a friend, followed by a movie on this rainy weekend. Hot ginger juice at the nearby coffee and record shop, with another drop-in from a dear friend. Pizza, Broad City and, finally, karaoke at a nearby restaurant / bar. Yes.

The movie on everyone's screens these days is La La Land, and this is what we saw. It was my second time seeing it, having watched in at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin on Boxing Day last year. During my first viewing of it, I was somewhat delusional, sick off the plane. A friend had been wanting to see it for the past few weeks here in Geneva, and I eagerly agreed, especially following its historic amount of Oscar nominations.

Spoiler: Do not read on if you have not seen the film yet!

As we leaned back in our reclined seats, I knew I would enjoy watching it a second time, but I was absolutely captivated, far more so than I remember being after the first viewing (which may have something to do with my improved lucidity). I found myself thinking about a lot of things. I thought about friends of mine who are or were recently in relationships. About how often individual dreams (or lack thereof) do end what was otherwise a beautiful relationship and that, while this ending was right at the time, perhaps, at another time, things would have been different.

I thought about my own conflicts around individual dreams. I have been pursuing global focuses that have kept me in Geneva, but my ultimate runaway fantasy is to Los Angeles (though I have never been and my mother thinks I would hate it), to join some of my closest friends in more creative, personal quests. Geneva has forced a certain degree of international intellectual-ness, and does not have the constant music, freedom and art of my hometown, or in the major cities that have since ensnarled my friends. I worry regularly that I will look back on my 20s and wonder why I missed those experiences of finding myself amongst people that most inspire and confound me. (Complicatedly, those people are now here too.) When the time is right, I do hope I have the courage to choose what is best for my heart, for my life's work, and I have no idea what risk that will carry. Hindsight: 20 / 20.

Finally, I found myself thinking again about something my father mentioned quite a few times over this past Christmas holiday. The theory, not of soulmates, but of twin flames. You see, soulmates is the original Hollywood romance story: Two people destined to be together. Twin flames approaches love differently. Two people, with destinies already unfurling, meet at a time in their lives when who they are meant to be can most be reflected back at them. They fuel each other's flames until they are properly lit and growing brighter. They are each most equipped to reflect the flame of the other. This is their sole / soul purpose for one another, but it does not mean they stay together. They set each other's paths on course, but they do not necessarily continue on that path with them. It is becoming a more and more enchanting idea, and I think that is what most hit me in this second viewing.

Hollywood does have a love affair with itself, but damn, I am right there with it when it comes to films like La La Land. Right now, there is no better time to believe in potential--the potential that Hollywood so magically captures--in you, in me and in this world. Having said that, I am eager to watch the other films nominated for Oscars this year. Any particular recommendations?

Micaela Neumann