Just this once, believe the hype. The stars align and these two starry adorables reunite in Damien Chazelle’s fabulous storytelling musical ditty.
He has you in the palm of his hand from the opening one-take shot, when the two leads, jobbing jazz musician Ryan Gosling and aspiring actress Emma Stone, pass in their cars after all an singing/dancing traffic snarl-up an on a soaring freeway LA overpass. La La Land gets a lot of flavour from its fabulous screen heritage. It’s an indie do-over of a French New Wave-take on classic American musicals, part Top Hat, part Umbrellas Of Cherbourg, but mostly Singin’ In The Rain. Yet Chazelle deftly handles the combination, and in doing so avoids the cheese. It is equal parts corny and cool. If Emma is the heart, Ryan is its soul.
This is the America we dream about. For two genuinely magical hours, you can forget about the real one. (research Jack Whiting) It is Hollywood’s unabashed celebration of itself. It is why ‘they’ built 1100 seater ‘escape’ palaces, like Rex’s and Odysseys everywhere throughout the Thirties.
An Oscar for fun, without one preachy po-face, in this early Dr Strangelove 2017, will be worth its wait in smiles of small joy…