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Have you ever wondered why some critics review films? They don't even seem to like movies that much from what they write. I LOVE movies, and think about them long after the last credits roll across the screen. My reviews are meant to inform, entertain and never have a spoiler.
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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

La La Land

La La Land is a love letter. A love letter to Hollywood, to romance, to following your dreams. It’s an old fashioned musical, and a tribute to jazz.

This amazing film took home all seven Golden Globe awards it was nominated for. Now nominated for 14 awards at the Academy Awards, everyone is asking: Will this be the year that a musical wins Best Picture? There have only been 10 musicals that won Best Picture. If La La Land wins, it will join such illustrious movie musicals as An American in Paris, West Side Story, and The Sound of Music. The last musical to win for Best Picture was Chicago.

La La Land is rated PG-13 for some language, and has absolutely nothing objectionable in it. You can take all your children, especially the ones who are interested in theater arts and music. The opening scene is a bit surreal. People jump out of their cars in a traffic jam on the Interstate, dancing and singing joyfully under the smog free horizon of the beautiful mountains towering over the city of angels.

Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone) are two dreamers. He is a musician enamored by classic jazz, she an aspiring actress. They both have their dreams, Sebastian to open his own club, and Mia to be an actress in the movies.

They fall in love, and what transpires between them is truly magical. Particularly beautiful is their dancing at the Griffith Observatory, the graphics perfectly complimenting their falling in love, dancing amongst the stars in the galaxy. It’s indescribable, magical and totally fits the story line.

I really loved the ode to jazz that this story is for Sebastian. Keith (John Legend) whisks Sebastian away to life on the road, and I knew Sebastian had a higher purpose for this detour all along. Mia keeps on too, and turns out to have a creative streak in her, something that goes above and beyond the actress who embodies other’s words. She’s a woman with her own words and ideas.

I noticed the reactions from the audience as we watched the film together in the darkened theater. At the rather surprising ending, we were silent, touched by what the screenwriter let us see, touched by the honesty of the choices the two lovers had made, and the reality of what happens when two people have the intensity to make their dreams come true.

The screenplay was written and directed by Damien Chazelle. So glad he went after his personal dreams. I’d watch this again and again. I admit I am a huge fan of jazz, and when Sebastian talks about how no one appreciates it any more, my heart kind of jerks open. La La Land is a love letter to jazz, to dreams, romance and most importantly, to Hollywood, where dreams come true.

Good luck at the Academy Awards beautiful La La Land. I hope you’ll go down in history as number 11 of the Best Picture musicals.

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