Chris Cancio’s review published on Letterboxd:
When I was younger, my sister would watch Audrey Hepburn films, and she would invite me over to watch with her. After immersing myself in the old Hepburn films, I became obsessed with classical films, and my obsession carried over even to the classic MGM musicals. I was engulfed by these classical Hollywood musicals, which I will always cherish. I was introduced to Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland (personal favorite), Debbie Reynolds, Ginger Rogers, Rita Hayworth, and so many more artists who inspired me to start living a dream.
Unfortunately, dreams are not realities, and I realized this entering college. You start focusing on your studies that you forget that you had a dream in the first place, and you simply let it go.
In La La Land, you are reminded of your dreams. For Damien Chazelle (the director), this film was part of his dreams. He started writing the film 6 years ago because of his love for musical films. He wanted "to take the old musical but ground it in real life where things don't always exactly work out". And, that's life. That is why La La Land hits home hard. The film illustrates how everything may not be what it is meant to be, but that's okay. This is the truth in fiction.
The film is both realistic and fantastic at the same time, and that is why it's meant to be watched. In my opinion, the first act of the film started somewhat slow (and rocky), but isn't that how life is? When the film reaches the meatier parts, it just keeps on grinding until there's no more meat to grind anymore. And it executes this in such an amazing manner that it could only be seen on the big screen.
So to end this, I invite everyone to watch La La Land because this is a film that you may or may not fall in love with, but it's a nostalgic journey to the past (both personal and film) that one should more or less experience. A real life in the reel life.
P.S. If you have time, watch Chazelle's first film: Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench. It also dabbles in jazz and the musical genre, which is just lovely.