Well, it finally happened. A modern musical that I don’t hate. It has taken me a while to get over the soul destroying experience of Mama Mia. But I decided to give La La Land a try, and I am so glad I did.

It wasn’t all plain sailing. When the opening group number began and people started to jump out of their cars, singing in unison on the highway, I felt a nervous tension building inside. This is my problem with musicals, all those strangers wouldn’t get out and talk to each other, so why would they sing? I was so close to walking away then, believing it was just going to be the same old stuff.

The difference between this film and others of the genre can be summed up in one word, subtlety. As the story evolved I got lost in it, and forgot it was a musical at all. It is simply a good story, well told, and well performed. I cared about the characters and felt great empathy for their struggles, both personal and professional. 

What also added to the experience was the atmospheric feeling of nostalgia that was created by the filmmaker. But, again, it was done with a subtlety, and delicateness of touch, which marks the difference between many good and great pieces of art. And, of course, there is the music. A superb blend of classic jazz, I am dredging through my collection as I speak, and original pieces. The score flows with ease throughout the two hour plus running time. 

So, yes, a great film. A great piece of art. And one that can be enjoyed again and again. Congratulations to all involved, I haven’t been so affected my a film in a long time. 

© Neil Hayes and neilsworldofenglish

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