by Brenda W. Clough
Movie musicals are rare as the unicorn these days. When was the last time you saw them singing and dancing in an original production on a movie screen, except in children’s animation? So La La Land is a complete novelty and yet utterly familiar. That’s the hat trick that everyone in the arts is trying to pull off.
And oh what a lovely movie this is! It’s like Singing in the Rain. As Sondheim prescribes, the music and dance express emotion and story. It is entirely sincere, no irony or breaking of the fourth wall at al. Even the ending is perfect: you can’t always get what you want, as other musicians have warned us. Hard choices are laid upon the creative, and even if we see the dreamed-of Heaven on the screen, waltzing and tapping and singing, we may not be able to seize it.
This is glorious — and one of the top films of the year. Go see it!