La La Land

La La Land ★★★½

"Perhaps, after all, LA LA LAND is borne out of a simple aesthetic shift, fetishizing the Golden Age elegance just as Instagram filters seek to imitate polaroids. But rarely has a film walked so delicately and perfectly the line between reality and projection, fantasy and sobering pragmatism, performance and internalization, not to mention with such vibrance, technical proficiency, and hope. Its pleasures are limited by its indulgence and its tendency to prefer catharsis above all else, but this rather one-track cinematic barreling forward ought not be mistaken for inherently inferior, or, god forbid, stupid and irrelevant. Stardom exists at the intersection of recognizable humanity and pure aesthetic presence, not a lie but an abstracted plane of human expression that can only exist in motion pictures (or motion, or pictures). Grace Kelly and Humphrey Bogart prescribed us our dreams, so we sang in the streets that morning, and kissed in the rain that afternoon, and leaned out the train window that evening until the camera ran out of film. We are the idols for those we love, just as they are our idols; We are, all of us, movie stars. The whole traffic jam breaks out into song, for you, for us."

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