A movie musical not based on existing source material is rarer than it might seem in 2016, viewed by most major Hollywood studios as a costly gamble not worth taking. Director Damien Chazelle (2014's "Whiplash") has not only defied the odds with Lionsgate's "La La Land," but has hit a swirlingly incandescent high note. Giddily ambitious but perhaps more bittersweet than some will be expecting, this melodic love story proves fanciful but rooted, emotionally, in a reality where happily ever afters are not certainties. As its two lead characters, played with heart-on-sleeve grace by Emma Stone (2015's "Aloha") and Ryan Gosling (2016's "The Nice Guys"), navigate the excitement of a new relationship, it is only a matter of time before the messiness of real life gets in the way. Chazelle and his actors make every success and pitfall dramatically involving and honest, backed by a lovely soundtrack of original tunes composed and orchestrated by Justin Hurwitz. The film's only disappointment is that there aren't more of them.
See Dustin Putman, TheFilmFile.com. for full review