Maggie Gallagher does not like the message of the movie “La La Land”

Marriage and family
Marriage and family

I own a couple of books written by Maggie Gallagher, (“The Abolition of Marriage” and “The Case for Marriage”).

Here is an excerpt from her review of La-La Land, posted at The Stream: (excerpt contains spoilers)

The story begins as a classic story of two beautiful young people who meet in L.A. — a “city of magic, city of stars,” as the haunting lyric puts it, but clearly no longer City of Angels. Together they pursue their dreams both of love and success. Sebastian wants to become a jazz club singer. Mia wants to be a famous actress. The dramatic climax of the film comes after Sebastian at some personal sacrifice has given Mia the shot at her dreams, dreams she had given up on. And she chooses those dreams over him.

[…]In La La Land, [the director] chose to sharpen the clash between love and ambition. He does so in three ways:

  1. By making the choice to leave love behind the woman’s choice, rather than the man’s, brilliantly (in the commercial sense) situating the film among the emerging and popular female empowerment dramas in which women learn they do not need a man to be happy and fulfilled.
  2. By making the man a genuine hero — how else do you describe a guy who, after a woman has broken up with him and run home to Ohio to hide in the safety of her parents’ house, drives all night to deliver to her the message that she has a callback audition to a major movie? (She didn’t leave a forwarding address so he can’t just call her and let her know.)
  3. By portraying the obstacle to love as so feeble that it’s hard to imagine why it should destroy true love: Mia has to go to Paris for 6 months to make her movie. It’s her big break. Of course she has to go. But what is a love that cannot survive a few months in Paris? Is there no Skype? Are there no intercontinental flights?

One young online commentator described this twist on the iconic musical narrative, this “bittersweet ending,” as being more realistic, more grounded. I find it difficult to get into that young man’s head. How one can believe that however hard it is to find true love these days, becoming a famous Hollywood actress is a more “realistic” dream? Mia is not the loser for making this choice. She becomes famous and finds a new love, who seem a nice man, and they have a baby. She has it all, and has chosen correctly, because dreams are not transferable, but people can be replaced.

The message of the movie is clear: a good man is easier to find than a good career – especially a career that is fun, thrills and popularity. Follow your heart, and all these things will be added unto you.

She concludes with this:

[…]La La Land is a strange postmodern exercise in nostalgia, which tried to give us all the romantic feelings of the classic Hollywood musicals before ripping them away from us and substituting the idea that it is work alone on which we can rely.

If you Google La La Land, this synopsis pops up: “With modern day Los Angeles as the backdrop, this musical about everyday life explores what is more important: a once-in-a-lifetime love or the spotlight.”

I know a lot of Christian women who delay marriage because they want the spotlight.

Don’t give your money to Hollywood leftists

I don’t go to movie theaters except once every 1-3 years, because I don’t want to give Hollywood my money. If I like a movie, I buy it later on DVD for less than $10. The last movie I saw in the theater was “13 Hours”. I rarely see anything in the themes of popular movies (or popular music) that is true, good or beautiful. This movie does nothing to make me question my stewardship of my dollars. What I end up spending my money on these days is World War 2 and Korean War history audio books. Nothing in those books hurts my character. Reading military history helps me to be thankful and humble.

Consider Romans 12:1-2:

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

And Phil 4:8:

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

I don’t want to explain to God later why I gave the money he entrusted to me to radical leftists. What is frustrating to me about movies, (and entertainment in general, including far-left ESPN), is that all too often, my friends seem to think that my choice of entertainment is not something that God cares about.

11 thoughts on “Maggie Gallagher does not like the message of the movie “La La Land””

  1. I agree. There are so few good movies to see in theaters anymore. I prefer the “old fashioned,” G-rated boy-meets-girl stories often portrayed in TV movies on the Hallmark channel.

    Since I’m not planning on seeing La La Land anytime soon, I read the review posted. I doubt that most Hollywood “star” stories end up leading pleasant lives. Most are probably more like what was portrayed in that awful “Birdman” movie.

    It is ironic, however, to note that “la-la land” is defined:

    noun, Slang.

    a state of being out of touch with reality.

    (usually initial capital letters) Los Angeles.

    British Dictionary definitions for la-la land
    (not capitals) a place that is remote from reality

    Yep…very fitting for describing Hollyweird in LA.


  2. I had heard La La Land hyped, and figured if it was trying to portray old fashioned musicals the main couple would stick together and both get their dreams in the end. Or else the woman might realize she doesn’t care about her dreams as much as her being with the man she loves.
    The ending sounds dumb, especially with the plotholes of the internet connecting people over long distances…
    I mean, some people MEET over the internet and date from there a while before meeting in person.

    I prefer movies like 13 Hours anyway. But I also saw the recent Star Wars films with family. They were interesting from a design standpoint, but all it did was make me want to work on my own stories. Because maybe then I would actually care about the plot and characters…
    I think I just like movies based on true stories, and preferably about war or other hard topics. Fiction is sub par nowadays.
    Oh well, at least there’s Wodehouse Playhouse for sheer entertainment.


      1. I haven’t, I’ve mostly seen mysteries like Lord Peter Wimsey when it comes to BBC. You might also like, it’s all about Special Operations, military news, and politics.
        Wodehouse Playhouse is the over-the-top comedy of P. G. Wodehouse with perfectly expressive actors.


        1. I second your recommendation of Wodehouse Playhouse. Funny, great acting. All 21 episodes are on YouTube for free.


      2. The long running 1980’s BBC “All Creatures Great and Small” is far and away my favorite show. I’ve gone through every episode three times.
        It is magnificent in it’s capture of the good, the true, and the beautiful. Fabulous acting, wrapped in lots of old subtle British humor, Dickensian characters, wonderful scenery, and all the idiosyncrasy of pre-WW II England.


  3. Today’s Hollywood can never match the Golden Age if for no other reason than it denies the importance of *truthfulness* in its releases. Obviously this film (which never appealed to me—I can’t remember the last time we went to a movie theatre for a new release) misses the boat there on the love, womanhood, and Hollywood aspects alone.

    I can’t help but think of the wholly delightful SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN, which has a plot LA LA LAND plucks a thread from; I also caught 1937’s A STAR IS BORN while packing our library this weekend. In both of these films, couples struggle with obstacles far greater than six months in 2016 Paris, in today’s celebrity-obsessed society, for the sake of their love and commitment to one another. Quite a contrast between the pictures.


  4. To be completely fair, many marriage-minded women who attended Christian colleges often chose as their majors: education (i.e., were planning on being teachers) or nursing or P.T. or O.T. or something like that — they often called them “portable careers” and were looking to complement whatever their (future-) husbands would be vocationally. Some of the ones who went to seminary chose counseling.

    That being said, I sometimes feel that on one extreme, a local area women’s college beginning with the letter W in a town of the same name has a bit of a reputation of being very blunt in ‘encouraging’ “women to pursue their dreams.” Some of the graduates of this college would derogatorily refer to alumna(e) who got married / had a family as “lifing out.” That did not sit well with me.


  5. We saw the trailer for La-la Land and it didn’t grab us, although I enjoy the old musicals. I prefer human interest movies, like Lion and Denial, which we saw recently, also The Light Between Two Oceans had all the classic ingredients of good drama, including a moral dilemma, although the ending rather fizzled out. I am very selective about what I see. In fact, there were quite a lot of good movies last year, even including Dr Strange (I’m a Benedict Cumberbatch fan!). We also go to see the NY MetOpera in HD Live series (except when they get “kleva”!).


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