La La Land Theories: Whose dream was it?

Spoiler alert!

A few days ago I watched La La Land, and I’m still depressed. Of course it’s because of the bittersweet ending where Mia and Sebastian fulfilled their dreams but they continued on different paths. While that was their stark reality, it was contrasted by a dream sequence where they were happily married. While I was watching the movie, I wasn’t thinking about whose dream was it. I just took it as the movie informing the audience of the alternate ending if the characters chose differently. In the alternate ending, only Mia got to fulfill her dreams, so when we went back to reality, we weren’t so sad anymore (yeah right, huhuhu, still crying) because we knew that what happened was the best thing for both of them (sigh). After reading a few articles about the movie though, I realized that so many people were asking if it was Mia’s dream or Sebastian. I began thinking about it as well, and now I have a few theories.

I really don’t think it was Mia’s dream because I think it was an interpretation of the song, which was being played by Sebastian. I also read somewhere that the dream started with a choice made by Sebastian (kissing Mia at the restaurant), and that drove the events in the dream, so it must be Sebastian’s dream. Though this was my basic premise, there could be a few variables to this interpretation:

  1. The dream sequence was the vibe that was being given off by the song that Sebastian was playing and Mia instinctively understood it. They were communicating through song and were simultaneously imagining a life that they could have had if they stayed together. Yet, after the song, they both woke up from the dream and continued with their lives. They smiled at each other though so as to acknowledge that both of them shared the dream, but they understood each other’s decision to choose otherwise.
  2. It was Sebastian’s dream as it was his last plea to Mia. Since he saw that she was in the audience, he decided to confess his feelings through song. He couldn’t say it explicitly because she was with her husband. He started his dream thinking that if he had been more decisive on his decision about Mia (by him kissing her from the start) and if he didn’t let the situation become so open ended as he did (I’m referring to his let’s see what happens attitude when Mia was about to leave for Paris), they could have had a life together. I also read somewhere that when Mia told her husband that she doesn’t want to hear more songs, she was really saying no to Sebastian. This hurt Sebastian, but at the same time, he could finally move on because there was a closure to his story with Mia. Maybe that was the reason he stayed single all this time. Some part of him was still waiting and hoping for Mia’s return.
  3. Sebastian tried to tell Mia through song how happy they could have been, but as he was saying this, he also realized that if he did that, he might not have had the life that he had now (the dream showed him not owning the jazz club but simply being a patron of the club). Mia realized this too and so she she let him go and let him continue on with his dream, knowing that this was what was best for him, something that he did for her when he let her go to Paris to chase her dreams. As Mia was leaving, Sebastian smiled as well because he realized that he need not live in regret and he wouldn’t have traded this life for anything else.

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