La La Land (♦♦♦♦♦)
Mia is an aspiring actress who works as a barista at a Starbucks in a movie studio lot. Sebastian is a jazz musician with dreams of owning a jazz club. Over the course of a winter they will meet intermittently not quite realizing that, perhaps, they are meant to be. But, will realizing their individual dreams keep them together?
La La Land is the feel good movie of 2016 award season, and it has it all in a classy nicely wrapped package that will make you, as did I, fall in love with it again and again. La La Land is a musical that pays homage to old Hollywood musicals. It is a love story between a boy and a girl, but also a nostalgic look at the pursuit of dreams, and a celebration of dreams come true in the "City of Dreams".
La La Land is written and directed by Damien Chazelle, who does a great job on both counts because the script has an ethereal quality, and the direction of the movie seems effortlessly; this film relies as much on drama as it does on gorgeous, evocative music and lyrics, and almost magical cinematography. The result is a timeless film.
When the movie started and everyone burst into song and dance in the midst of a major trafficking jam in the highway, I told myself: "yes, that's exactly what I feel like doing every time I find myself in that situation", but the movie only grew from there. It got bubbly for a while; it was youthful, energetic, and then became so bittersweet at the end that I almost cried. It has a similar vibe than Woody Allen's Café Society.
For the record, I am a fan of both Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. They make a beautiful on-screen couple, and I think this charming, romantic story works, precisely, because of their strong chemistry together and in spite of their rather weak singing voices. They have two other films credits as a couple (Gangster Squad, and Crazy Stupid Love). I emphasize their chemistry together because it is a movie that relies on the pair.