La La Land

La La Land ★★★★★

They worship everything and they value nothing.

When Damien Chazelle decided to open La La Land with an ode to the Golden Age of Hollywood complete with the appropriate font, film stock and the aspect ratio, I sensed what he was after. But only when he showed his hand by filming an electrifying, tightly choreographed opening number all delivered in a seemingly unbroken singular take, I knew he wasn't going to pull any punches.

La La Land is a phenomenally bittersweet exploration of nostalgia, dreams of greatness, longing for love and appreciation and a stinging critique of the state of modern art. But, contrary to what one might think, Chazelle never descends into fingerpointing from the relative safety of his high horse. Instead, he practices what he preaches. He leads by example. He shows instead of telling.

He levels with you, envelops you in his fairytale stardust and takes you along on a trip through the past to bring you up close to the things that used to make cinema and music great long ago. He sits you down on the bench and lets you see how effortlessly Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling tap dance through their magic-infused pink-coloured dreams and then he asks you to get up and repeat after him:

Music is life!
Cinema is love!
Jazz is joy!
Jazz is joy!!!
Jazz is JOY!!!
IN DOUBLE-FUCKING-TIME!

So...

Here's to the ones who dream
Foolish as they may seem
Here's to the hearts that ache
Here's to the mess we make

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