The Final, Fantasy Musical Montage

( Epilogue )

1:51:00 - 1:58:00:  The movie ends with a seven-minute musical montage, that blends reality with fantasy, As Mia, five years later, and married to someone else, imagines what life would have been like if she and Sebastian had remained together.

This is accompanied by a musical overture, called Epilogue , playing in the background... essentially excerpts from all of the songs in the movie, performed by a full orchestra, woven together to form one sweeping musical piece.

There are no new locations introduced in this musical montage, but it revisits eight locations that we have explored before.  This page breaks down the montage into its individual shots, complete with times, and includes links back to the previous pages describing the locations where those various shots were filmed in real life.

Before we start going over the individual locations,
 here's the entire musical montage:

And now, let's see where that montage takes us...

1:51:00:  Mia has accidentally stumbled into Seb's jazz club, along with her new husband.  She has just realized her predicament, and an obviously-shaken Sebastian has just spotted her in his audience.  

As Sebastian begins to play their romantic theme on his piano, and the old memories start flooding back, the room darkens as the camera begins to zoom in on Mia's face. She looks emotional, perhaps heartbroken.

The camera shows Sebastian playing the piano, then suddenly  zooms back to reveal...

1:51:18:  ...We are no longer in "Seb's", as the room has suddenly transformed, and we are now back in Lipton's, the restaurant where Mia first saw Sebastian, while he was playing the piano.

We are back at that same moment, with the restaurant decorated for
Christmas as it was then, and Mia standing near the doorway.

She approaches
Seb, as she did before, but this time, instead of angrily rushing past her, Sebastian instead sweeps her up in his arms and the two kiss in a classic Hollywood movie embrace, as the music swells to a lush orchestral version of their theme.

We realize that we are no longer seeing reality, that instead we are seeing things as they might have been, had Mia and Sebastian stayed together, an idealized, romantic fantasy straight out of Old Hollywood.

Quickly, the music changes to the up-tempo song we heard during the opening freeway dance, as the restaurant patrons began to snap their fingers in rhythm to the music. Mia and Sebastian break into dance and head for the exit.

Suddenly, the
door is blocked by Sebastian's grouchy boss, but only for a moment, as he quickly falls in line with the fantasy, uncharacteristically snapping his own fingers and gesturing broadly that they may go.

1:52:10:  As  Mia & Sebastian exit Lipton's, we see them immediately enter through the doors of their new home, as Mia happily leads Sebastian by the hand through their house, past a jazz poster that now decorates the wall.

1:52:17:  Then we are suddenly back at the Lighthouse Café, watching a jazz pianist play on stage before the camera pulls back to show Mia and Sebastian at a table, chatting happily.

Keith, the unintentional catalyst of their real-life breakup, approaches
their table as he did before, about to offer Seb a gig with his band again, but this time, Sebastian immediately waves him off, and Keith leaves quickly, as the happy couple return to their chat.

1:52:25:  As an orchestral version of "Another Day of Sun" plays, a blur-dissolve  takes us to the colorful set of Mia's one-woman show, on stage at her small theatre.

It then cuts to a repeat of Mia standing on stage at the end of her show, waiting for the audience response.  But this time, instead of a mostly-empty theatre and polite applause, the theatre is packed full, and she gets a standing ovation. And instead of Seb being unable to get there in time, he is in the audience, applauding wildly. They meet behind stage and she leaps into his arms.


1:52:49:  As they exit Mia's theatre from behind stage, the real world is suddenly transformed into a painted backdrop of Hollywood life, starting with a hand-drawn stage door.

Mia glances at it for a moment, then Sebastian gestures for her to come along, and they continue to walk into this cartoon world, where a pure white background is illustrated with sketches of the Watts Towers, Los Angeles City Hall, a palm tree, and orange groves – all L.A. icons.

1:53:07:  As cardboard orange trees appear, and the music becomes more upbeat, the couple breaks into a dance, and they enter a three-dimensional ( yet obviously artificial ) movie set of a Hollywood musical, depicting a fantasy L.A., complete with costumed dancers.

It is the very same movie set that Mia and Sebastian were looking at inside that studio soundstage , back when she took him on a tour of her studio.

There are the same blue lamp posts ( that we've often seen before ), a mock service station (inspired by an Edward Ruscha painting, a familiar freeway overpass, stars on the sidewalk, searchlights sweeping the sky... as Mia and Sebastian weave through a group of colorfully-costumed dancers, all part of a lavish musical number straight out an old MGM musical like "Singin' in the Rain".

1:53:35:  In the middle of the number, casting director, Amy Brandt, appears to lead Mia offstage.

We see an idealized, silhouette version of her successful audition (with her song, "Audition", playing in the background), in which the casting agents stand and applaud.  Afterward, she rushes into Sebastian's arms.

A rotating globe appears on screen.

A miniature airplane enters the picture, flying above the globe, from America to Paris, a gimmick often employed by old movies as a simple way to indicate travel.

( It is the same small globe we saw on  stage
 as part of the set of Mia's one-woman show. )

1:54:08: We are then in Paris, only this is still a hand-rendered, illustrated world of lush matte paintings, of the sort one might have seen in an old Hollywood film.

The camera scans across a matte backdrop of a Paris skyline, then zooms in to show in detail, a sign over a doorway reading "Le Caveau de la Huchette"  ( which is a famed jazz club in Paris ).
1:54:16:  We see Sebastian sitting at a piano inside that French club, playing "Madeleine" ( the same jazz song we heard during the earlier Summer musical montage ) with the jazz band, as the locals dance.

We see Mia being made-up for the filming of a movie scene, but the
background is still a stylized painting, this time of the iconic Arc de Triomphe, as the movie crew makes her the center of attention.

As the song Madeleine continues, we are back in that French jazz club, with Sebastian still playing piano with the band, as the camera zooms in on a trumpet player's solo.

1:55:12:  The camera iris-opens to yet another lushly hand-made matte painting, this one of an idealized Paris street after dark, as a well-dressed Sebastian & Mia run hand-in-hand near a symbolic Seine river.  It looks very much like an impressionist painting, with Disney touches.
The people around them are frozen in place, mere character archetypes, including a little boy holding a big red balloon ( a nod to the classic Albert Lamorisse 1956 short ), a romantic couple kissing on a bench, an American sailor buying flowers from a vendor ( perhaps a nod to "An American in Paris", given the location, but more closely resembling another Gene Kelly character, from "On The Town" ) .

( If these scenes remind you of the matte paintings from the classic "Mary Poppins", there's a good reason: the man who painted those backgrounds for "Mary Poppins" reportedly also did many of these matte paintings. )
1:55:34: In the midst of this illustrated Paris fantasy, Mia and Sebastian begin to waltz, as an orchestra and choir swell with the same music we heard during the Planetarium sequence, and the background abruptly changes to stars against a black sky, repeating what we saw in the earlier observatory dance scene.


1:56:20: Abruptly, the screen goes black for a moment, and then we see a small, amateur screen in the middle of the dark frame, as Mia's imaginary home movies flicker across it. This fantasy version of Mia & Sebastian sit down to watch the memories that they have collected over the years, as a simple version of the song "City of Stars" plays on a piano.

1:56:31: First up on the screen are images of their early marriage, settling into their new home, as Mia paints a wall a shade of pink.

A moment later, we see a pregnant Mia kissing Sebastian in the kitchen of their home, and then a shot of the couple with their new baby.

Next, in quick sequence, we see them celebrating the baby's first birthday, watching it take its first steps, and then walking out the front door of their house, waving at the camera, the baby now a toddler, pointing at a fountain, followed by Mia & Sebastian kissing in their rose garden.

( All of these domestic scenes were filmed in the same place, at the old Orcutt Ranch home.

1:57:10:  A jump to the present ( inside this fantasy world ) re-creates the earlier scene in which the couple gets ready to leave the house, leaving their baby daughter with a nanny, as they head out for a night on the town.

1:57:15: The music slows and becomes more haunting, becoming the original love theme, as we see Mia & Sebastian in a car on the freeway during a traffic jamLike their real-life counterparts, they opt to pull off the freeway, onto an off-ramp.

1:57:25: we see Sebastian & Mia walking hand-in-hand down the street after  dinner, when they decide to go into a nightclub that they see ahead, which is of course, Seb's new jazz club.

1:57:41:  …and they find themselves back inside Seb's, duplicating the earlier moves of Mia and her real-life husband, sitting at the same table, while the last few bars of Mia & Sebastian's theme are sadly played out on the piano.

As the camera pans from
an unknown pianist, around the room, and back to where Mia is seated in the darkness with Sebastian, they share one final kiss at their table.
As this fantasy comes to an end, the camera pulls back from the pianist's fingers on the keys to show that it is, once again, Sebastian playing, up on the stage. Mia sits frozen at her table, next to her husband, as he applauds.  Both she and Sebastian seem stunned, heartbroken.

Mia gets up to leave with her husband, as they had for the exit.

But at the door, she pauses. Mia turns and looks at Sebastian,who is still seated at his piano, looking dazed. He looks up, and their eyes lock for a moment. They both stare at each other in silence for several seconds.  But then Sebastian breaks the tension with a wan smile, which Mia returns, followed by a nod from Sebastian that seems to say "Good for you. You made it."

She returns the sentiment with one last, bittersweet smile, before turning to walk out the door.

The music swells, as the movie ends with an old-time screen card reading
"The End" ( and featuring the words "Made in Hollywood, USA", a standard phrase on MGM films circa 1949. )


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 very first La La Land location page.


"La La Land" and its images are copyright Summit Entertainment
The rest of this page is copyright © 2017-Gary Wayne - All Rights Reserved

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