Warning: This post contains spoilers for the movie La La Land and discusses the ending of the movie in detail. Reader discretion is advised.
"Here's to the ones who dream," sings Emma Stone during her big number in La La Land, the acclaimed musical likely to pick up awards at this Sunday's Golden Globes. It's an inspiring, populist message that has driven the movie to box-office success: This one's for the strivers, the rebels, and the "real" artists. La vie boheme, you know?
But over the past few weeks, as the Oscar talk has heated up, director Damien Chazelle's love letter to Los Angeles has become a whimsical lightning rod for conversations about mansplaining, whitewashing, and, of course, jazz, baby! Then there's the ending, a dream-like narrative flight of fancy that doesn't strike the same hopeful (or some might argue naive) tone as the chipper trailers and the sun-dappled opening number. Depending on your interpretation, the film's finale will leave you with a tear in your eye -- or make you shake your jazz-fusion-loving fist at the screen in sputtering rage.