I haven’t read any reviews or any article prior to watching the movie. I knew it got a few awards at the Golden Globes and that it was a musical. I wasn’t really expecting much when I asked JR if he wanted to watch a movie — any movie — at the new mall, Ayala Malls The 30th. I heard the the mall had full recliners so I wanted to try it. I wanted to try the cinema more than watch La La Land, to be honest. It just so happens La La Land was conveniently screening just as we arrived at the mall. We grabbed the last two seats, A1 and A2, nearest the screen. Maybe that’s why I didn’t know what hit me after the end credits rolled. I sat there, turned to Jr and told him, “I loved it!” — sniffing and wiping off tears. I was shookt.
I had zero expectations on the movie. The first sequence on the freeway ramp reminded me of my time in LA. At the end of my two weeks in Los Angeles in 2015, it had me singing a line from John Mayer’s ‘In Your Atmosphere’: “I don’t think I want to go to LA anymore.” I was LA-ed out. I thought, great, I got assaulted with a musical number without any context about the worst thing in LA. We’re off to a horrible start. I’m gonna hate this movie.
And then the story unfolded. And I thought, damn, what is happening? Why am I feeling all these feels? Wait. I can’t keep up. I just can’t.
I was Mia. I was Seb. I was in Griffith Park. I was in Grand Central Market. I want to go back to LA and go everywhere again.
No one was giving Mia the parts she wanted but with Seb’s nudge, she set out to write her own part, not needing the approval of other. I loved her hustle — quitting her job, risking it all and writing her own screenplay. She trudged on, putting up a show and finishing it even if it was in front of just a handful of audience.
You know what you want to do. Sometimes all you need is a small nudge. You do your best, even if no one’s watching. Everyone’s still asleep when the sun rises, but still, everyday, the sun shines.
I loved how Seb knew what he wanted. He just needs to find a way to get there. I love how it shows that sometimes you have to compromise, be a little sell out, but your eyes will always be on the prize. Sure, you’ll have to swallow your ego and pride, but you do not lose sight along the way. In the end, he got his jazz club. It might not be in the location he wanted, but he got it and they were going to play jazz the way they want to.
It might take a long time to get there, but you’ll get there.
I loved the ‘non-musical’, non-star cinema ending. It’s rooted on realism. That sometimes, your dreams are your happy ending, and that people you meet along the way are people who point your way to your happy ending. Seb encouraged Mia to write a screenplay that would land him a casting call of a lifetime, and Mia reminded Seb of his jazz club dreams. These people may not be in your life forever, but there is a reason why they are in your life then.
And you’re always gonna love them.
But what struck me the most are two lines from Mia’s ‘Audition’. We all have dreams. We grow up and priorities realign and some dreams remain dreams. But for the dreams we are brave enough to pursue, we fight, and we fight til it breaks us, and til we break thru. But rarely do we come out the other side unscathed. On our wake are broken relationships and painful sacrifices.
“Here’s to the hearts that ache. Here’s to the mess we make.” That’s my new tattoo.
Yes. I found my new favorite movie of all time.
Ayala Malls The 30th
30 Meralco Avenue
Pasig, Metro Manila
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