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'La La Land' is a Shameless Jazz-Hands Romance, and It's Exactly What We Need Right Now

‘La La Land’ is a Shameless Jazz-Hands Romance, and It’s Exactly What We Need Right Now

“We think too much and feel too little,” Charlie Chaplin observed in his prescient anti-fascist 1940 classic The Great Dictator. La La Land, writer-director Damien Chazelle’s luminous musical love story, thinks and feels.  But as lovers of musicals know, thinking and feeling can only take you so far. When thought and emotion dead-end for La La Land’s pair of lovers, played by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, they can’t help but burst out in song, dance—hell, they even fly. Who knows what movie audiences—who don’t bat an eyelash when superheroes defy gravity, time, space and logic—are going to make of that, especially since La La Land is the first full-on movie musical in eons that isn’t based on a pre-sold Broadway hit? But the movie, Chazelle’s first since the terrific Whiplash, lays down the unapologetic “It’s a musical–take it or leave it!” gauntlet from the get-go in an astonishing sequence set during an L.A. traffic jam. Every character as far as the eye can see seems to be…