A Breakdown Of The Harrowing Emotional Experience That Is La La Land

Photo: Shutterstock/Rex.

So you’ve just seen La La Land and you need a place to express your feelings. Welcome, friend. This is a safe space. If you have not yet seen the fantastic romantic musical epic starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, DO NOT go on. This post contains major spoilers.

All on the same page? Okay, let’s get this minute-by-minute analysis going.

We’ll follow Mia (Emma Stone) and Seb’s (Ryan Gosling) individual struggles as they try to build careers as an actress and jazz pianist in Los Angeles, rejoice when they finally fall in love, and grit our teeth when success threatens to tear them apart. Oh, and we’ll cry all the tears — but you knew that.

Lace up those tap shoes and prepare to embrace your inner Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire as we embark on this emotional journey together.


1. This is going to be great. I need a happy movie to get me through this week.

2. “Presented in Cinemascope Color.” How quaint and delightful.

3. Why are these people singing about L.A. traffic?

4. What is happening? Why are all these people so happy? This is Trump’s America now, there’s nothing to sing about.

5. I feel like we should all clap.

6. OMG. HAI, Ryan Gosling.

7. That slow smile. So sleepy. So sexy.

8. Did Ryan just honk at Emma Stone? Rude.

9. Emma Stone has THE MOST expressive eyes.

10. Of course someone spilled coffee on her before her audition.

11. I can’t watch her bomb this. Hollywood sucks.

12. Okay, your fake failing-actress apartment isn’t fooling anyone, Emma. This is way too nice.

13. But this roommate pre-game is on point.

14. HA! You have to get in your car and drive to this random Hollywood party.

15. Yes to all this Champagne. This life is so shallow, but so pretty.

16. Emma’s life sucks in this movie. Of course her car would get towed.

17. Walking home in heels doesn’t sound like a reasonable idea. Is there no Uber in L.A.?

18. Oh, where is that lovely piano music coming from?

19. Why, Ryan Gosling’s magic fingers, of course!

20. Wow, we just switched perspectives! Can I live in Ryan Gosling’s mind forever?

21. Now this apartment screams failing artist. Good job, Ryan.

22. Who knew Christmas carols could be so soul-deadening? (Is Ryan Gosling actually playing piano right now? DAMN, boy.)

23. Ugh he just got fired. J.K. Simmons is such a grinch.

Photo: Shutterstock/Rex.


24. Another day, another lame Hollywood party.

25. Did all these women color-coordinate bright jewel-toned dresses?

26. Wow, that’s a lot of ’80s hits.

27. Ryan’s face when Emma requests “I Ran” is priceless.

28. He has the best head shake.

29. Aw, they’re leaving together. Now, all they have to do is fall in love and live happily ever after.

30. This sunset is gorgeous and Ryan Gosling is serenading me. This is what I think heaven is like.


32. This. Is. Too. Much.

33. Emma Stone is so twee. She literally works on a Hollywood lot, where she serves coffee to celebrities and stares at the window from Casablanca on her break.

34. Ryan Gosling is both desperately charming and so annoying in this movie. Get. A. Real. Job. Dude.

35. What is this world in which Rebel Without A Cause casually plays in movie theaters?

36. NOOOO! Don’t do it, Emma! Don’t ditch Ryan for Dandy Mott from American Horror Story! (Finn Wittrock)

37. Watching Ryan Gosling wait in front of this theater is physically paining me.

38. BUT WAIT, she just heard the tune.

39. She’s running! (In those heels? Please.)

40. Emma, I love you, but you just don’t stand in front of a movie screen like that.

41. ALERT: Their fingers are touching. This is it, guys.

42. Actually it’s not. Thanks, ancient projector.

43. Are they seriously going to the Griffith Observatory RN?

44. Well, I finally get what that star dancing in the trailer was all about.

45. This is so pretty. I love it — but also I kind of hate myself for loving it.

46. A KISS.


47. Cue the requisite montage of their love. They’re so adorable, it’s disgusting. (But that apartment is MUCH nicer now that Emma’s moved in.)

48. Hello, John Legend!

49. Ugh. Ryan, why are you this guy? Just join John Legend’s band and be successful! You don’t HAVE to open this obscure jazz club just because it was your dream when you were 9.

50. So he did join and they’re a pretty great band. Good job, Ryan!

Photo: Shutterstock/Rex.


51. Aw, looks like these two have been apart for a while. That’s what happens when one is writing a one-woman show in L.A. and the other is busy bringing revamped keyboard jazz to the masses.

52. He surprised her with dinner! Bae is so thoughtful.

53. Uh oh, looks like Ryan’s going to be on tour for a while. This is a guilt dinner! For shame.

54. Emma, don’t be like that, he just found his groove!

55. “Maybe you just liked me when I was on my ass, because it made you feel better about yourself.” OUCH, RYAN. MY FEELINGS.

56. Things are not going to get better, I know it.

57. I bet you a $100 that Emma’s show is a flop.

58. No, John Legend, the photo shoot at 7 is not okay. Ryan has to go to Emma’s play, which opens TONIGHT.

59. Oh my God, he didn’t go. He went to the photo shoot to wear oversized glasses and bite his lip like the asshole that he is.


61. Honestly, good for you, girl. You should be with someone who comes to your plays, claps, hollers, and buys you freakin’ flowers afterwards. Ryan totally deserves to be broken up with.

62. Oh, but don’t go home to your parents’ house in the middle of the desert. That’s not productive.

63. Dude, I know you want your girl back, but honking in a residential street like that is not going to do it.

64. Emma got a callback! Finally. Her life was getting too depressing.


66. Oh good, she showed up.

67. Is she supposed to break out in song like that? That’s not how I usually respond to, “Tell us a story.”

68. Oh no, the breakup scene. I can’t.

69. Somehow, this is even worse. They know they’re in love, but not on the same page.

70. “I’m always gonna love you.” Excuse me while I sob quietly in the corner.

Winter (Five Years Later)

71. Five years? That doesn’t seem like long enough for regrets.

72. Actually, come to think of it, I just remembered what I was doing five years ago. Scratch that.

73. Oh, look at that. Now, Emma is the movie star who is given a coffee on the house. Life has come full circle.

74. UM, who is that man she’s with?


76. And she has a kid!

77. So Emma Stone is just playing herself now, minus the child.

78. Ryan opened his crazy jazz club! Everyone’s dreams are coming true — we are definitely in la la land.

79. Oh my god, Emma and her husband are going into Ryan’s club!

80. Aaaaand they lock eyes.

81. This flashback of what their life together could have been like is at once too much and so relatable. THEY COULD HAVE BEEN HAPPY.

82. No, you’re crying.

83. This melody is going to be stuck in my head for weeks, now, won’t it?

84. What is this feeling I’m feeling?

85. Ow, my heart.


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