The central theme? How about the chorus from “Audition (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
Oh, we could say the central theme is “to dream” or “dreamers”. I think the movie is more precise than that.
In the world of Los Angeles, the Entertainment Universe, you have to be a fool to dream of success, even more of a fool to act upon those dreams.
It involves not only incredible odds against financial and career success, it also include ‘hearts that ache’ and ‘messes ‘we make’.
Yes, Mia and Sebastian achieve what they want: Career dreams fulfilled. And yet, is this what they NEED?
Their shared smiles at the end notwithstanding, you can’t tell me that both Mia and Sebastian won’t look back at who they were and what they had, and at times in the future rue the costs of fulfilling their dreams.
Yes, Mia has a husband, a child, a successful career. Yes, Sebastian has his nightclub.
But what about their romance? The FEELINGS they shared? The mess they collectively made?
Compare to arguably the greatest musical ever: Singin’ in the Rain. There is an inevitability the trio of lead characters will succeed… and love will win the day. There is an inevitability in La La Land, too, despite the enormous odds against the lead characters. But with successful careers comes needs which — in my view — are left unfulfilled.
So themes? How about “fools who dream”?