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La La Land


Stars: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Rosemarie DeWitt, J K Simmons, John Legend, Keith Harris, Tom Everett Scott

Director: Damien Chazelle

Much has been made of this rather slow romantic musical, although, for all its technical expertise, it seems unlikely to herald a return to the genre.

An aspiring actress, Mia (Stone), working as a waitress, and a jazz pianist, Sebastian (Gosling), stuck playing jingles in a restaurant (run by the invaluable Simmons) gradually strike up a romance and eventually move in together. But their relationship hits problems when both find steady work, his taking him a country-wide tour with a 'modern' jazz band.

The overlong results can't hold a candle to the classic Hollywood musicals - but this gentle entry does have a certain delicate charm all its own, provided in part by a string of atmospheric LA locations.

The movie takes off with a bang, with drivers in a freeway jam breaking into an impromptu (and smartly choreographed) dance session (though it seems to me that something similar has already been seen in one of the 'Step Up' films).

There are one or two haunting little tunes thereafter, notably City of Stars, and the film, which has hit the doldrums, springs to life again in a fizzy climactic dance sequence that leads to the bitter-sweet finale.

David Quinlan

USA 2016. UK Distributor: LionsGate. Colour by efilm.
122 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 13 May 2017

DVD review