In this day and golden age of television, it takes a film like Damien Chazelle's La La Land to help define today's cinema. Television can't pull off a story like this because of its serial nature. Cinema does because it compacts a terrific story into a shorter run time. Let's forget about the super hero and connected universe movies, a one shot, self-contained movie is great to have once in a while.

I had to give into the movie in order to love it. It starts with traffic wherein the stranded motorists break into dance. Neither one of the protagonists do; they are busy honking and minding their own business. Then the film follows each protagonist to their destiny as a couple. The female lead is an actress working at the studio backlot coffee shop serving the movie stars. The male is a jazz pianist chasing his dream of pure musicianship and a club to express it. They meet because of a few bars he plays during a Christmas show. We have to follow these fools in love as they balance their artistic ambition with their love for the other.

This is a musical. There is singing and dancing. There is wonderful scenery. There is also wistfulness for Los Angeles of old as captured in film: Singing in the Rain, A Rebel Without A Cause, etc. Any film that loved or showcased LA is here as well.

I really liked this film. It was probably the best movie I saw this year. It was refreshing to see something like this in the theaters. Films need to be accessible, fresh, and fun to make people want to see them. This one is.

4 of 5 stars.

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