Warning: spoilers for La La Land are in play. If you haven't seen the film, and want to go in fresh, bookmark this story and come back once you've caught up.
With its awards circuit victories ensuring its place in pop culture, La La Land is the film that's been on everyone's lips. For the most part, it's been due to the endearing quality of Damien Chazelle's film; while others have been discussing the fact that the film is one of the best movie musicals in some time. But what's got us still talking in the offices of CinemaBlend is the film's ending.
More specifically, the tone of said ending, as it can be interpreted in a couple of different manners. For the most part, people are divided into two separate camps: those who are dead set against it being a happy ending, and those who feel that the film's finale is a smile-worthy affair. So far be it from us to stay out of a good debate, as we're ready to discuss both viewpoints, and a third that could hold the key to the debate's crushing end!
By time we get to the end of La La Land, Mia has taken an acting job in France and Sebastian is starting to get his own jazz club off the ground. Admitting they'll always love each other, we jump ahead five years to see the future of this lovely couple, who have already been going through some rough times after a particularly upsetting dinner argument, among other incidents. We find out that Mia is not only a successful actress as she'd always dreamed, but she's also married and has a daughter with said husband. Doing pretty well for themselves and going out for a date night, the couple stop into a particularly interesting night spot: Sebastian's club.
Upon seeing Mia in the audiemce, Sebastian plays the theme that's represented the couple throughout the whole film, fantasizing what their lives would have been like if he'd done everything right. In his dream, he doesn't push past Mia upon their first meeting, makes it to her one woman show, and is the perfect, supportive man she deserves. They get married, have their own child, and end up going to that same jazz club- in a mirror universe version of what could have been.
As Sebastian plays the last, sad notes of the theme, Mia and her husband leave. With her husband out the door, she looks back one last time to see Sebastian, and looks with on mournfully. Catching her eye, Sebastian smiles wistfully in understanding, and Mia reciprocates. She leaves, and he continues to entertain his patrons, as we're told in a plain as day title card, "The End."