Writer-director Damien Chazelle follows up his critically acclaimed Whiplash with a musical number which has swept the Golden Globes.

La La Land is all about nostalgia, a look at how Hollywood was once a magical dreamscape filled with meaningful emotions to a place where people “worship everything and value nothing”. With a few nods to Casablanca, it longs for the golden age of film.

The opening scene is a singing and dancing sequence on a gridlocked freeway entering L.A. Stuck in the middle are Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress, and Sebastien (Ryan Gosling), a struggling jazz musician.

Their first interaction is hostile as he honks his horn at Mia when she fails to see the car in front has moved on. She sticks up her middle finger in response.

Mia works in a coffee shop on a studio lot while Sebastien works in a restaurant playing Christmas jingles unhappily on the piano until he gets fired for going rogue with a jazz solo.

Following the classic Hollywood love story, the two despise each other at first and then fall in love, singing and dancing with amateur charm into each other’s arms.

Both encourage each other to follow their dreams- Mia to be a successful actress and Sebastian to open his own jazz place.

But alas, along the way the inevitable comprises this modern world that worships money over what really matters, love and artistic quality, brings both characters crashing down to reality.

The musical numbers all seem to be done in single takes and are nothing short of delightful. Cheeky and wistful, they easily bring the viewer on magical trips that are love letters to a time gone past. The colourful landscapes and dreamlike sequences are Hollywood escapism in all its glory.

The performances by Stone and Gosling are strengthened by a glorious on-screen chemistry and the effort that has clearly gone in- Gosling is actually playing the piano (and well), having practiced two hours a day for five months.

The score, by Justin Hurwitze, is marvelous and other worldly- "City of stars, are you shining just for me?"

Although we must wait a moment for La La Land to fully take off, it quickly becomes thoroughly engrossing and will appeal to both lovers of a bygone era and people struggling to find themselves in this vast and often disconnected post-modern world.

While the film is a thoroughly enjoyable endeavour, it does not offer anything new. The American dream, although slightly altered, survives again.

Which is a shame, if one is not prone to romanticism, because it is a poignant portrayal of the current mood- dashed expectations and sameness in a post-modern society in which people chatter on meaninglessly and no one listens.

However, maybe it is a sign of the world’s rejection of all of the above and just like the revolt in the 80s we will once again begin to favour depth over emptiness.

If La La Land grabs best picture at the Oscars as expected it will be the first original film musical to do so since Gigi in 1958.  

La La Land is out now.