Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling
What seems more and more to be the most acclaimed film ever (by Hollywood, at least) is the cinematic equivalent of a throwback jersey. Whiplash writer-director Damien Chazelle has already won two Golden Globes, and is on the fast track for dual Oscars after making good on his previous film’s promise with this charming romance musical about a frustrated jazz pianist named Sebastian (Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner Ryan Gosling), or Seb, and an aspiring actress named Mia (Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner Emma Stone).
Chazelle masterfully combines choreography from the terrific Mandy Moore (not that Mandy Moore) and award-winning songs like “City of Stars” with charming performances by his leads, who, though neither professional crooners nor hoofers, make their deficits assets.
If La La Land stumbles anywhere, it’s in assuming everyone dreams of L.A. like Hollywood does. As a love letter to arguably the most popular genre of Hollywood’s golden age, La La Land is a smash. How Gosling can possibly get more charming is a mystery, but he does. Chazelle just might be the most promising new filmmaker since Quentin Tarantino. Whoa: Did I just type that? Yep, and I meant it.