How to Interpret the Color Spectrum
The left edge is the beginning of La La Land. Notice the bright colors of LA traffic as the crowd sings Another Day of Sun. The right edge is the end of the movie. Dark colors dominate this part. From left to right, you go from beginning to the end.
If you are interested to learn how I made the plot, of the color dynamics of La La Land check out my other article, Building the Color Spectrum of La La Land.
Colors and Seasons: Color Dynamics of La La Land
La La Land is divided into five chapters based on the season – Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter 5 years later. Using the spectrum of the color dynamics of La La Land, we can point out the dominant colors in each season.
Start: Another Day of Sun.
End: Mia’s audition. “No, Jamal. You be trippin’.”
Major events in winter are the opening number – Another Day of Sun – and Mia and Seb’s second interaction after Seb gets fired from his job. These two events are the most apparent in the color spectrum. Bright colors dominates the beginning of winter, particularly hues of blue. Midway, red is able to take some of the spotlight, and then dark colors close it out.
Start: Pool party where Seb is playing in an 80s cover band.
End: Kiss at the Griffith Observatory.
Mia and Seb’s relationship blossomed during spring. From being slightly annoyed with each other to the two eventually sharing a kiss at the observatory, spring goes through the motions of the beginning of a love story. Notice how spring is dominated by the color purple, a personification of love, particularly during “A Lovely Night” and “Planetarium.”
Start: Mia starting to write her one-woman show.
End: Seb’s concert.
Summer is the shortest season in the movie. It starts out with red, turns to green, then closes out with a fight between red and blue during “Start a Fire.” In the analysis of Film School Rejects, red, blue and green are argued to represent reality, control and a change, respectively. The green during summer happens during “City of Stars,” which precludes the eventual fall-out of Mia and Seb.
Start: Mia sending invites to her one-woman show.
End: Mia and Seb breaking up (but still loving each other).
Fall continues the green from summer (this corresponds to Mia and Seb’s fight). After green, we see that the bright colors of the movie eventually die out, leaving only black and white (“Audition”).
Winter (5 years later)
Start: Mia walking to coffee shop.
End: Mia and Seb’s final smile.
Winter 5 years later is almost devoid of bright colors. The only tinge of brightness we see is during “Epilogue,” a fantasy of the what-ifs for Mia and Seb. Notice also the blue tinges spread throughout winter. As mentioned earlier, blue represents control. At this point, Mia and Seb were able to achieve what they want in their careers.
I’ll be the first to say that I’m not an expert in the psychology of color. I’m also 100% sure that you have your own interpretation of the color dynamics of La La Land.
I would love to hear what you think.