La La Land is taking award season by storm, racking up tons of Oscar nominations, in addition to being the most romantic movie in years. But there seems to be a general consensus from even the most fervent of fans: the ending. (Obviously, spoilers ahead.)
At the end of the movie, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone's characters don't end up together, a fact that, anecdotally, has caused pretty much everyone I know who's seen it to say something along the lines of: "I saw La La Land. I loved it. But the ending: WTF?!" It's a seemingly universal sentiment, and while there will probably never be a sequel to show the two leads getting back together, director Damien Chazelle's explanation might make you feel better — or at least might make you understand it more.
Speaking at TIFF back when the movie first premiered in September 2016, Chazelle was asked why Stone and Gosling's characters don't end up together. Here's what he had to say:
"Real life doesn't always live up to the dreams in the movies, but that, in a way, is a great subject for a movie. And that's kind of what drove me with this: making a movie that was definitely informed by these idealised visions that you get from the old Hollywood musicals, but one in which hopefully you have to question a little bit whether real life lives up and what the give and take has to be.
"I find movies where the lovers wind up not together more romantic."
These are characters who — and every character in the movie to a certain extent — has to negotiate the balance between dreams and reality, as we all do. To me, it's trying to say something about that. I find movies where the lovers wind up not together more romantic. When they wind up together, it's like you don't know what's going to happen after the movie . . . but these two will always be a perfect pair for me."