Director: Damien Chazelle. Cast: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, J.K. Simmons, Rosemarie DeWitt, John Legend. 128 min. Rated PG-13. Musical.
This modern West Side Story is based on three assumptions: everybody believes LA is heaven, everybody loves jazz, everybody is in a jolly mood for a cheery, romantic musical. And since the first two assumptions are false, and 2016 was too crappy for the third to be true, this movie didn't work for me. The movie relies on Chazelle's superb direction, the film's exquisite cinematography and choreography, and Emma Stone's star power, ... because the first hour has almost no story, and the "What if" ending message was much more powerfully delivered in Woody Allen's recent Café Society.