RE­VIEWS IT’S A MU­SI­CAL MASTERPIECE

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - Theguide -

THE fren­zied ex­pec­ta­tion sur­round­ing writer-di­rec­tor Damien Chazelle’s mu­si­cal love story was al­ready deafen­ing be­fore La La Land won a record seven Golden Globe awards ear­lier this week.

His im­pec­ca­bly crafted fol­low-up to the crit­i­cally ac­claimed Whiplash is now firmly in­stalled as the fron­trun­ner for glory at next month’s Os­cars, and al­ready has one trem­bling hand on the cov­eted golden stat­uettes for Best Pic­ture and Best Di­rec­tor. The fever­ish hype is fully jus­ti­fied. La La Land is a vis­ually sump­tu­ous, un­abashedly swoon­ing valen­tine to the golden age of Hol­ly­wood mu­si­cals, art­fully con­structed on a foun­da­tion of dis­tinctly mod­ern sen­si­bil­i­ties.

Yes, char­ac­ters burst into catchy songs com­posed by Justin Hur­witz, with snappy lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, to ex­press their churn­ing emo­tions, while their bod­ies tap, pirou­ette, twist and jive to Mandy Moore’s ex­pres­sive chore­og­ra­phy.

But there is so much more to Chazelle’s story of boy meets girl than doe-eyed glances and pat sen­ti­ment, in­clud­ing a heart-wrench­ing sec­ond act that af­firms the need for ev­ery­one to chase their dreams, but also ac­knowl­edges the acrid pill we must swal­low when re­al­ity bites, down to the bone.

As­pir­ing ac­tress Mia (Emma Stone) works as a barista in be­tween au­di­tions, which re­peat­edly end in crush­ing re­jec­tion.

On a traf­fic-jammed Los An­ge­les free­way, she crosses paths with tal­ented pi­anist Se­bas­tian (Ryan Gosling), who reveres jazz in its purest form, but is forced to play sac­cha­rine stan­dards by res­tau­rant owner Bill ( JK Simmons).

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