La La Land ★★★★★

In the grand scheme of things, La La Land doesn't have the sheer palpable energy that Whiplash does IN PLACES.

That statement alone is enough to send every other Hollywood director packing, and Damien Chazelle is still the most precociously ambitious bastard in Tinseltown, and he's still pulling off his magic. He's not drowned out by a budget here, and instead wrangles it like Hobie Doyle and a piece of spaghetti. The camerawork here starts off so wild that it nearly gets to Revenant-levels of irritatingly good, but the film quickly finds its heart in my two favourite cuties navigating their way round the cutest story of the year.

It seems odd to say that actually, when this basically follows the same thesis of Whiplash: compromise to your art and you'll flourish, for better or worse. But while Whiplash is about the blood and sweat of success, La La Land is about the delirious highs of finding what you love. For the ones who dream, they love too much, and have to compromise. They compromise themselves. They compromise to each other. But ultimately, compromising to your dream will the thing that makes and breaks you. Chazelle makes this palatable through being warm and cuddly this time round.