★★★★★ La La Land is deserving of every award it gets, if only for the pure, unfiltered joy it brings to the screen.

I have a confession to make.

Ever since rumours of a Gene Kelly-esque musical being in the works began, I’ve been eagerly following the progress of La La Land. As it hit film festivals with full impact, shattering expectations and stacking up rave reviews in most every news outlet, I was captivated. When it won a record-breaking 7 Golden Globes in one night, I almost passed out.

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in La La Land, image via Vox

But despite this, the film has proved divisive; some people out and out hate it. Richard Brody of The New Yorker ripped it to shreds in a scathing op-ed, whilst Refinery29 had their fun poking holes in it, ranging from racist allegations to wails of indignation over the two leads not being professional singers. I’m here to tell you, and I do hope you listen, to put down your outraged pitchforks of offendedness (should you be in that particular camp), and enjoy this movie for what it is.

And what it is, is a movie for people in love with the movies. At its heart is a pulsing and tumultuous story of true love. From the get-go, a camp-centric opening number set in gridlocked LA traffic, recently parodied by Jimmy Fallon for the Golden Globes, the film is a work of pure, unbridled joy, bursting from the screen in flashes of primary colour. Gosling and Stone’s chemistry is palpable, and exploited to its fullest extent to glorious effect.

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in La La Land, image via Collider

Don’t be fooled by its seeming predictability. The storyline throws a number of curveballs, subtle enough not to detract from the unalloyed romance of it all, but enough to be utterly heartbreaking when it wants. The ending sequence, which I won’t spoil for you here, is devastating and uplifting all at once.

Leave your cynicism at the door when you go and see La La Land, and lose yourself in something guaranteed to leave you feeling just a little bit better about life. At the screening I saw, where not a single seat was unfilled, something happened at the end that I’ve never experienced in a cinema – the room burst into applause. In 2017, with all the horrors of the real world to contemplate, we could all use a bit of joyous escapism. This is where you’ll find it.

– Thomas Marrington


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