La La Land is a magical movie about love and dreams. It’s simultaneously a throwback to classic musicals, a modern romance, and a timeless riff on chasing your artistic passions. The enthusiasm with which writer/director Damien Chazelle shows and tells the story is infectious; the musical numbers elate and the emotion exhilarates. And, occasionally, devastates but La La Land is never without a pep in its step or hope in its heart.
We’ve all seen the photo. Lyndon B. Johnson takes the oath of office on Air Force One shortly after President Kennedy’s assassination. Jacqueline Kennedy, the suddenly former First Lady and new widow, stands to his left, shell-shocked. The still image shows trauma and grief, but also defiance, as she stands in the pink suit stained with her husband’s blood. “Let them see what they’ve done,” Jackie said famously.