Damien 'Whiplash' Chazelle's La La Land is joyous homage to old school Hollywood musicals, a love letter to the city of LA and a tribute to those that dream of making it on its hallowed streets.

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone bring considerable charm and chemistry to Sebastian and Mia, a struggling jazz pianist and an aspiring actress, who in time-honoured fashion start off on the wrong foot before, well you can probably guess the rest. Or can you? Chazelle's playful use and subversion of such clich├ęs keeps you guessing until the end on how this will all play out.

Along the way are plenty of surprises and delights. An all too brief JK Simmons cameo as a restaurant owner, Sebastian's stint playing the synth in a terrible 80's covers band much to Mia's mocking amusement, A conversation about the death throes of jazz which has Mia bringing up the dreaded Kenny G, while a trip to a faded picture house to watch Rebel Without a Cause ends abruptly at the Griffith Observatory scene, only to prompt a visit to the same location for a glorious gravity-defying dance sequence, all of which leads up to a riff on the extended ballet scene in An American in Paris.

La La Land is essential viewing for those who don't think they make 'em like they used to. Wonderfully pure and exhilarating cinema that should be gathering in all the accolades come awards season and rightfully so.

By Kevin Knapman

La La Land (12A)

2h 8m

Director: Damien Chazelle
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt, Finn Wittrock, Callie Hernandez, Sonoya Mizuno, Jessica Rothe, Tom Everett Scott, Josh Pence

UK Release: Friday 13th January 2017

La La Land: "The Look" Clip

La La Land: "City of Stars" Clip