12 January 2017
BBC Radio 4
Very seldom do I emerge from a cinema longing to burst into song and to tap dance along the pavement. But that is how I felt coming out of La La Land, and maybe you will too.
Writer-director Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) has conjured up a glorious throwback to the big studio musicals of the 1940s and 1950s, those Technicolor fantasias in which emotion is paid its due through the nimble grace of footwork and the swoon of a tune. But this film will not simply invoke a nostalgic thrill for the old-school majesty of Singin’ in the Rain or A Star is Born; it is set in the present day for a start, and it will remind you of something larger that has gone missing from movies – a sense of joy, of hopefulness.
You know this is going to be something different from the very first scene, a Los Angeles morning in – where else? – a huge traffic jam. A commuter, singing to herself, gets out of her car and starts to dance; then someone else joins her, and more people pop out until the whole freeway is taken over by a riotous song’n’dance number. They’re doing the show right here!
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