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'La La Land' is a great musical
What some folks want this year
One sequence has Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone dancing in, up through and above the Griffith Observatory. - photo by Studio photo

"La La Land" debuted in December and has gradually been released to more and more theaters over the last month.

It’s currently sitting as the No. 2 movie in America. It is a great musical that takes us to places that very few musicals do anymore.

Ryan Gosling stars as a struggling jazz musician and Emma Stone is an aspiring actress working in a coffee shop. Both are finding life incredibly difficult as they try to hold onto their dreams while living in L.A. They have a meet cute-type situation in which Gosling tries to get Stone to like jazz and she believes it’s a dying art.

They start to spend more time with each other and eventually like one another, all the while trying to expand their horizons about what they want to do with their lives. Gosling and Stone have one particular dance sequence that involves no cuts and it is movie heaven to watch.

John Legend costars as an old high school classmate of Gosling’s who persuades him to play for his band. He accepts the job, but Stone is worried he may be compromising on his dream of owning his own jazz nightclub. In the meantime, Stone quits her coffee shop job to write her own play.

"La La Land" was written and directed by Damien Chazelle, who made "Whiplash." This film is all at once a celebration and a love letter to jazz, the Golden Age of Hollywood musicals, and the courage and passion to follow one’s dreams.

It’s technically brilliant, including a key sequence involving Gosling and Stone as they levitate over the Griffith Observatory. The images are gorgeous.

Dazzling and whimsical yet heartbreaking and bittersweet, "La La Land" combines old-fashioned melodrama with a contemporary setting that makes for a memorable experience long after it’s over. This is one of the most beautiful films of the decade.

Grade: A

Rated PG-13 for some language.

Hall is a syndicated columnist in South Georgia.

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