La La Land Made a Believer Out of Me

Emma Stone & Ryan Gosling, La La Land

If you can make a woman who doesn’t necessarily like musicals, like a musical, I’d say that film has to be pretty darn good.

La la Land did just that for me, and more. Damien Chazelle’s third feature is a wonder bursting at the seams, waiting to be seen by the skeptics and the critics. A film that needs to be gobbled up by the pensive moviegoers who could stand to loosen up a bit.

As someone who sees a lone lamp post in the middle of a street and immediately thinks of Gene Kelly with an arm swung round it, I was afraid that Chazelle would try to improve something that never needed improving in the first place. That it would fall flat and prove to be about as entertaining as a pair of empty tap shoes.

Gene Kelley, Singin’ in the Rain

But you simply can’t label La La Land as a modernization of an old trend. It truly is the same magic used in Singing in the Rain and High Society wrapped up in a new package.

It is Judy Garland and Fred Astaire.

It’s soundstage and “lights, camera, action!”

And I am so totally, completely here for it.

Chazelle managed to do so well what I think a lot of modern musicals fail to do, and that is he manages to keep you hooked.

The screenplay is built from good bones, a simple boy meets girl story, but with a fresh, tantalizing, candy-colored shell. Emma Stone dazzles as the aspiring actress Mia and Ryan Gosling hypnotizes the audience as the struggling jazz purist. The two move together seamlessly, weaving in and out of song, dialogue and dance. If you don’t grin at least once while watching this film I’d consider giving that thing beating in your chest a checkup.

I won’t spoil what I consider to be the gift of watching it for the first time. So, I’ll let you purchase a ticket, buy popcorn to nibble on, and settle in for the wondrous ride that is La La Land. Get ready to burst at the seams once you see it though,

It’s just that good.

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