Love is the closest thing we have to magic, or so it has been said. I am a sucker for movies of the romance genre as they inspire us to believe in fairy tales and happily-ever-afters, and to tightly hold on to the people we love. It is only recently I got to watch the movie La La Land on Netflix and wonder how similar the concept of the final song sequence is to the ‘Anbil avan’ song sequence in Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa. Movies portraying unrequited love have always held a special status in the minds and hearts of audiences, which is contradictory to the fact that people love happily-ever-afters and fairytale endings. Maybe this has to do with the reason that unrequited love resonates with real-life stories of many people (like the nostalgic love of Ram and Janu in 96) while very few couples can relate to the bubble that is happily ever after.
Even then, as the audience, we get so invested in the love story, the chemistry, the spark, and the passion, that it becomes hard for us to accept when it is not successful. As viewers, once we are done with a book or film and are not happy with the way it ended we imagine a climax of our own to comfort ourselves. Similarly, there is a part of us that yearns for a happy ending for which the writers introduce the element of ‘What could have been’ as shown in the above-mentioned films to soothe a wounded part of our broken heart. It transports us into an imaginary world of magic and happiness where we get our happy ending and when we come back to reality our hearts ache a little less.
When I first saw VTV I couldn’t comprehend what was happening between the beginning of ‘Aaromaley’ and the ending of ‘Anbil avan’ until the actual climax and when it finally dawned upon me. I was shattered because my kind of love stories should always end in happily-ever-afters but it also made me realize that sometimes some people aren’t meant to be forever. But that doesn’t make their love any less. These kinds of stories help us understand love: that it isn’t always about where it leads but what it makes us feel in between. Love is indeed magic; no factors like timing, distance, or endings can ever actually diminish its spirit and soul.
Now when I have finally made some progress in my understanding of love, I watched La La Land. Even after hearing so many things about it I was excited to give it a go. This love celebrates growth, success, ambition, art, and eccentricity. When it ended it wasn’t because their love wasn’t worth it or they weren’t meant to be but because of bad timing. They were each other’s origin of success. They wouldn’t be where they were if not for one another. Maybe had the climax been their first-ever meeting (minus the husband) their love story would have started there and had a different ending, and that is what we are shown there: a different ending, a happier one, or more precisely a ‘positive’ one. Finally, when Mia shares a poignant smile with her Sebastian something is etched in our hearts forever that is so hard to articulate.
Broken things have a unique beauty. Likewise, broken love stories have an innate sense of authenticity and dignity. Unrequited love is special because not all great love stories have happy endings that don’t make them any less great. Maybe they are not supposed to because sometimes all love gives is a sense of purpose or source of inspiration.
Disclaimer: This article has not been written by Film Companion’s editorial team.