Written and directed by Damien Chazelle (Whiplash), this is a magical movie musical, a modern-day version of Fred Astaire/Ginger Rodgers classics like “Top Hat.” It’s my favorite movie of 2016 and I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t win the Academy Awards’ “Best Picture.”
Emma Stone (now as Mia) and Ryan Gosling (now as Sebastian) had great chemistry in their two prior films together (“Crazy, Stupid, Love” and “Gangster Squad”) and they continue to be a superb on-screen romantic couple. Their chemistry is so outstanding that if Gosling ever divorces Eva Mendes (though I hope they make it), I wouldn’t be surprised if he asks Emma out!
Mia is an aspiring young actress while Sebastian is a starving jazz pianist. He loves “pure jazz” and eventually wants to own his own jazz club. Following the typical romantic comedy formula, they meet coincidentally, don’t seem to like each other, but the attraction is too strong to resist and they fall in love. Their courtship, however, is primarily via singing and dancing rather than with dialogue. The songs are good, although the choreography could have been better. Stone and Gosling aren’t trained singers or dancers, but they have such star-power and are such good actors that it really works!
The first two-thirds of the movie is light-hearted, but, surprisingly, the last third is intense and has considerable depth. The film’s themes include having the courage and persistence to pursue your dreams despite the odds, and how loving another person can make the difference between fulfilling your dreams and falling short.
Robin and I loved it, and it’s films like this which make going to the movies so special.