The movie musical genre is not dead. La La Land is the modern day version of the movie musicals of the 1930’s and 40’s. In this case, it’s a love story and its a story of creative ambition. Sebastian and Mia meet as a matter of fate. They’re young… they live in Los Angeles… He’s a jazz piano player – she’s an actress. They sing and dance their way into each others lives…

Story: This story is written and directed by Damien Chazelle. Kudos to him for reviving a genre with the perfect balance of dialogue with song and dance. I’ve seen movie musicals be too much musical and no dialogue and unless you are a diehard musical fan, it’s a bit much. Damien Chazelle took the time to make the story fit with the music, singing and dancing.

Many recent attempts at the genre feel like imitations. This feels more genuine, like the original movie musicals.

Performances: Ryan Gosling as Sebastian and Emma Stone as Mia are hard not to like together or individually. They both sing, dance and act. This is tough because most performers today only do one; The triple threat trend came and went not so long ago, but, it’s alive and well here.

Oscar-worthy? Again, difficult to assess because this movie is so different from the others. I feel like the story overall is for sure Oscar-worthy… on the fence about the individual performances. I feel like there are other performances this year that have more substance.

Visual: This is where La La Land shines. The wardrobe is modern day, but vintage in style. There are old-school touches everywhere – like Sebastian’s cars – He drives an 80’s Buick Riviera convertible, then upgrades to an 80’s Cadillac Eldorado convertible. Very telling and a perfect match to his personality.

The use of the backlot sets as a prop adds to the throwback feeling of the mid-century big studios. Also a nice touch…

And the scenery is perfect. Sitting on a park bench… visiting an observatory… frequenting establishments that have managed to maintain their historic look in a modern society. I can’t say enough about how the elements of this film are perfectly planned and designed .

Rating: I’m giving La La Land a solid A. The ending was a bit heartbreaking, but, the journey getting there was a delight much like watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The whole thing felt great – its too bad Damien Chazelle couldn’t find a way to wrap it up feeling just as good.

This is a must see whether you like musicals or not. After the opening scene – which is a bit much – you won’t even notice singing vs dancing vs acting. See it…