Disclaimer: the following is a sort of movie review. This film was made in Hollywood. There are a couple bad words in it and people sleep together. They are fully clothed and nothing happens, but still. Just thought I should say that.
My friend Jill and I finally got to go see “LaLa Land.” (Los Angeles has been called “LaLa Land for as long as I can remember.) I have been a big fan of movie musicals since I was in grade school; I cheered when I heard such a film was even being made. People might think, “But musicals are so schmatltzy. Do you have your head in the clouds? Life is just way too serious–haven’t you seen the headlines?”
I was undeterred–singing! dancing! romance! (Plus, I was so looking forward to see my dear sunny Southern California play center stage.) I was not disappointed. The opening scene of the film had me smiling ear to ear. There were the freeways, the skyline of Los Angeles, the forever-blue sky, the palm trees. The beaches and piers. And the crickets. Filmed in the land where I was born and raised, it was like seeing someone I loved again after a very long time.
LaLaLand is a delightful story–made in Hollywood, about Hollywood–that highlights the dreams of two young people who fall in love but….well, I won’t give it away.
I will tell you this, though. When we stepped outside the theater into the cold, gray reality of the rainy Seattle day, this is the message that stuck with me: follow your dreams.
Indeed, Emma Stone’s character, Mia Dolan, is given a life-changing role based on the poignant song, “The Fools Who Dream.”**
“Here’s to the ones who dream
Foolish as they may seem
Here’s to the hearts that ache
Here’s to the mess we make.”
The heart of the film, the message via Hollywood and the scores of talented people making this film, is to honor what you were made to be, to give credence to that voice in you that says, “This is who you are, this is what you love. Spend your life living into that. It won’t be easy. There will be sacrifices. But live into who you were called to be.”
The community of Hollywood–actors, actresses, film directors, musicians, writers–all those committed to telling stories, are people who dream. People who have “taken their broken heart and made art.” (Carrie Fisher).
We sometimes scoff at such vanity, such shallowness. As if dreams were a falsehood, an unnecessary addition to this ‘serious’ world we live in.
I will admit I have held that opinion before.
But when I returned to my very real world, standing in my down-to-earth kitchen making a pot of chicken soup, it occurred to me, in this day and age dreamers may be precisely what we need.
James tells us in his epistle, Chapter 1, “every good and perfect gift is from above, from the Father of Lights…” (v. 17).
Every gift. Music, movies, mathematicians. They can all show forth the goodness and glory of God when we do our part well. Don’t listen to another voice that tells you to settle for second best. Ignore the naysayers who want to give you an easy way out. (Also messages in this film).
Will you consider today listening to the still, small voice of God, that He would confirm for you what is it you were made to be or do that burns in you?
Is it to write? To sing? To invent something? To serve people? Travel to Nepal?
What is your gift? What are you willing to go after even if it’s hard or takes years or there is sacrifice? What dreams will you pray about today?
Your dreams don’t have to be big, change-the-world kind of dreams. But if each of us holds on to the best that God has for each of us, we will change the world. Each small ‘yes’ bringing us closer to who God has called us to be.
Start small. Start now. And keep those dreams close to your heart.
**full song here
photo-Huntington Beach Pier, 2018, jlcollins.