With so much hype, how could Damien Chazelle's follow-up to the brilliant Whiplash be anything but a disappointment? Thankfully, the film is a triumph, managing to update the classic MGM Musical while retaining all the best elements.
The big set piece dance sequences are here, and are suitably ravishing in lush technicolor, but they never outstay their welcome. Chazelle's film is tight, and the structure loops back around in delightful and surprising ways.
The end sequence in particular, with the perfectly judged return of the central musical motif, is masterful.
This is filmmaking of the highest quality, and handled with the confidence of an elder statesman with thirty films under his belt. In the years to come I suspect Chazelle's name will be spoken reverentially, in the manner of Spielberg or Scorsese.
I find truly great films to be the hardest to write about - there are no outcropping rocks to find purchase on. Stone and Gosling are magnificent, the cinematography is gorgeous, the score is transportive.
The classic Hollywood musical has pulled off an astonishing comeback and I for one couldn't be happier.
By gosh, I think it's perfect.