A bold statement I admit, when you have to size it up against West Side Story and Singin’ in the Rain. But from the first bar of Another Day of Sun – a huge Busby Berkeleyesque number – that erupts on the gridlocked freeways of LA you know you are actually in heaven.
The two central characters, Mia and Sebastian, are introduced at its finale and we set off on a love story like no other. (Are there even any other actors in the film. I’ll have to look next time. Oh yes. John Legend completely taking the Mickey out of himself. Tip your hat to him for that.)
Well, it’s like the Umbrellas of Cherbourg actually, but better, so so much better.
There are only actually 7 songs in it. So it’s quite an unmusical, musical. And neither Ryan Gosling nor Emma Stone can really properly sing. But that’s beside the point.
Writer and director Damian Chazelle (Whiplash – another magical movie about jazz) subverts the musical genre by having almost no music in the third and fourth acts. But it doesn’t matter because now he has a story to tell.
Emma Stone is nothing short of mesmerising.
Ryan Gosling. A fault free cinema superstar. He rises eloquently and handsomely to the occasion.
But even though they are both brilliant this is Damian Chazelle’s movie. He has the mark of a master with his direction and storytelling.
It even has tap dancing.
I won’t spoil it for you by sharing the full storyline as I knew nothing of it before I went to see it but I confess I was worried about the hype and the knowledge that the leads can’t sing. There was no need to worry and you shouldn’t either because this movie is about the unique vision of Damian Chazelle. He is clearly a scholar of big studio big budget musicals and has used the power of Whiplash’s success to create a dream that no-one has been allowed to tamper with. It’s a deconstruction and reconstruction of everything that makes great musicals great but with the twist outlined above.
City of Stars has already picked up a Golden Globe, and rightly so, but it’s not even the best song in the movie.
It’s difficult to go much further without spoilers so I’ll leave it at that.
Probably the best musical movie ever made. I led the applause and went to buy a ticket for the showing immediately after the one I’d seen but circumstances prevented me from watching it back to back. I’ll have to wait until later this week when it opens properly.
Put it this way I’m now extremely jealous of the 99% of the world’s population who have yet to see La La Land and I beseech you to follow my actions.
A straight 10/10. No question.