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Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling twirl toward greatness in La La Land



SUCCESS CAN go to a lmmaker’s head, as it did Francis Ford Coppola’s. It can make them anxious or suspicious, as it did Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese. But sometimes it warms a director up like the sun, and the result is a gorgeous, toasty splash of sound and color like Damien Chazelle’s La La Land. An enchanting valentine to the Hollywood musical that will have you purring with pleasure, the film is a follow-up to Whiplash, Chazelle’s 2014 film about the tough love between a jazz drummer and his teacher. The script for La La Land actually predates the lming of Whiplash: Chazelle wrote it in 2010, while he was still looking for a way into the film industry. But in many ways it feels like its heir, a response to the embrace Whiplash received at the Oscars, where it was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning three—for best supporting actor, film editing and sound mixing. La La Land doubles down: If Hollywood loves Damien Chazelle, Damien Chazelle loves it right back.

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