“La La Land” is a musical that soars while staying grounded in reality.
With catchy songs and dance numbers that pop off the screen, it would be easy to characterize Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land” as a musical comedy, but that doesn’t give this film nearly enough credit. It’s also a serious character study of performing artists, as well as a tough-minded take on show business realities. Chazelle’s layered script tells the story of struggling actress Mia (Emma Stone) and bullheaded jazz pianist Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) pursuing their dreams in LA and each other. Their dialogue crackles honestly about Tinsel Town demands, and even when these two break into song, their words speak volumes about the “fools who dream.” Both sweetly nostalgic and utterly modern, “La La Land” is the must-see film this holiday season.