Damien Chazelle directs Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling and John Legend in this original musical about an aspiring actress and obsessive jazz pianist trying to make it in Los Angeles.
I settled into a New York multiplex seat with high expectations and within minutes they were exceeded. The opening number reached a crescendo of such dare, verve and painstaking timing (yet while feeling fresh and unstaged), popping with vivid colours and confident moves, that the rest of the running time could have just been the effervescent Stone and likably flawed Gosling making shadow puppets on the wall and I still would have given this a 10 anyway. They all do more than that (Whiplash was apparently no fluke and we all already love these stars), wearing the technical ingenuity, the quality influences proudly on their collective sleeves, and glorifying the simple emotions of risking it and failing and pulling yourself back together and moving on with an expert flourish. And the risky ending… featuring a forgotten almost star who made his name in a similarly bright movie about creative hopefuls almost touching the sun…. is just on-point. I’ll hold my finger to my lips and say no more right now. A breezy, touching, reverential, stops pulled all out, modern masterpiece.