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SYNOPSIS: In modern day Los Angeles, Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a traditional and dedicated jazz pianist falls in love with an aspiring actress (Emma Stone) as they chase their dreams ad risk everything for their passion.

Review by Louise Keller:
Dreams, love, fantasy and reality all swirl together in a sumptuous extravaganza of song and dance in an old fashioned Hollywood musical that makes everything old new again. Damien Chazelle's follow up to Whiplash is a glorious life-affirming adventure that shoots for the stars as the realities ground it. Buoyed by the charm and charisma of its talented stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, the film is a whirlwind of unbridled happiness that sweeps us away with music and colour. It's an ambitious glamorous work that is gloriously realized: the feel-good film of the holiday season.

The film begins with a flash crowd sequence on a gridlocked LA freeway, where drivers sing, dance and leap into the air with joie de vivre as they alight from their cars. It's a unique opening and one that quickly establishes the mood - one in which real life and fantasy meld as one; song and dance being the fuel to propel everything along. This is where Gosling's aspiring jazz pianist Sebastian and Stone's ambitious actress Mia first see each other - although it is definitely not love at first sight.

The development of their romance is delightful, finally getting together after a spring pool party, when he leans from a lamppost (a la Gene Kelly) and they start a tap dance routine before they watch the sunset. The scene at the Griffith Observatory when they gaze at the stars before they float (and dance) among them is the epitome of romance. Gosling and Stone make magic together - with music and chemistry. The key songs are simple and catchy and there is enough heart to spare.

The setting is contemporary, the tone is timeless as the mood is reminiscent of that in films like Jacques Demy's The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and The Young Girls of Rochefort. Chazelle's cleverly structured screenplay incorporates the four seasons and a different colour palate for each, as fantasy and reality blend. The way the past and the present fuse together while the real world fades into insignificance in the circular exposition is sheer brilliance. I'm over the moon about La La Land - it's a breath of fresh air.

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(US, 2016

CAST: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Rosemarie DeWitt, J.K. Simons, Jason Fuchs

PRODUCER: Fred Berger Gary Gilbert, Jordan Horowitz, Marc Platt

DIRECTOR: Damien Chazelle

SCRIPT: Damien Chazelle


EDITOR: Tom Cross

MUSIC: Justin Hurwitz


RUNNING TIME: 128 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 26, 2016

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