La La Land ★★★★½

Over the last few years I've struggled with the majority of the films that have been nominated for Best Picture at The Oscars. Like most people, not every film will have universal appeal, with each of us having our own favourite genre of films or general interest in specific directors, actors, or subject matter. Since 2010 I've had little inclination to visit a host of the 62 films that have been up for the big award, for a variety of different reasons, and in years to come I may well regret that decision as I slowly get to see those films that I'd never fancied initially. It gets harder when the films get universal praise and my fellow LB mates ridicule me for having missed a modern classic, but there's a few I'll simply never watch. La La Land got a nod this year, 14 of them to be exact, universal praise, and was a box office phenomenon. So did this fit into my selection of films I wouldn't be interested in? Look at the ingredients, it's a musical, I like musicals, Rock of Ages is one of my favourite films, and Damien Chazelle is directing Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, yeah, I think this one's for me.
The superlatives heaped on La La Land weren't wide of the mark. Vibrant, exhilarating, joyous, and an unashamedly old-fashioned feel-good musical. This is a film that will lighten up your day, one of those films that entertains from the opening,colourful moments that set the tone for what would come next. Gosling and Stone's chemistry is infectious, the music surprisingly appealing (I've always considered Jazz as musical wanking, just like Jimmy Rabbitte in The Commitments) but it had me tapping along and appreciating something I'm not exactly familiar with. There is a magic to it all, it has that other-worldly feel that transports you back in time to the days of the heyday of the musical, and in Chazelle's hands he manages to make Jazz hip and cool, two words I never thought I'd say in a sentence about Jazz. It is as good as I'd hoped it would be, plot-wise it's lightweight and breezy, and it has two stars that fully deserved all the accolades they received. This is up there with the best films I've seen from last year, and I look forward to revisiting this very soon.

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