Editor-in-chief of Empire magazine Terri White thinks we need a double dose of joy in 2017, and it starts with all-singing, all-dancing blockbuster La La Land
You may have felt it this New Year. I know I did. Normally level-headed, firm-hearted types watching Elf for the fourth time; choosing to stay on the sweet, sweet wine as 2016 faded and - in my case - point-blank refusing to remove the fairy-light-studded tree from the corner of the living room, no matter how much it shed.
There's something a little different about 2017. There's something a little bit different about us in 2017. It's not so much a new year as a new age. One in which we're seeking out - wait for it - that seemingly most un-British of things: joy. Proof - beyond my pile of needles - has come in the unlikeliest of forms. A musical (yes, really) called La La Land. A modern-day Casablanca starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, it's two hours of pure, cinematic, beautiful goo. Hollywood knew what the world needed right now and it wasn't men in capes destroying the world with stilted dialogue.
My heart was kick-started by a classic love story without sexting, debts, divorce or betrayal.
It's fair to say that I have been caught in the quicksand of misery and meh for some time now. It began, arguably, with Brexit; the referendum which, regardless of your side of the fence, knocked us all out of sorts. It's when I first felt the black hand of gloom settle on my shoulders. Spindly fingertips got in-betweenn my muscles when the good-souled Americans I knew began whispering, 'Oh god, I know it sounds mad, but he might win.'
Just a few months later, we've had proclamations of financial doom, mourned several icons who fled this Earth and watched as the soon-to-be leader of the free world tweets casually about 'nukes'. Ain't life been grand? Which probably explains why La La Land is so right for right now. On paper, it's everything I/we hate: a musical (eugh), with dancing (yawn). And yet, as the lights dimmed and the screen filled with a swinging and swooning and singing Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, my heart did something unexpected: it softened and swelled. It leapt, for heaven's sake, almost right out of my chest. Kick-started by a classic love story without sexting, debts, divorce or betrayal. It's simply boy-meets-girl-and-for-a-while-they're-so-very-happy. I loved the sweetness the film left on my tongue.
'You've got to give it everything you've got,' Gosling's Sebastian tells the doe-eyed Mia (Stone), and it's such a simple urging, constructed from so much optimism and unfettered belief that it feels revolutionary in these times. No cynicism, no arched eyebrow, no muttered snark and presumption of failure before the attempt. Imagina that.
So maybe, like me, you've found yourself hunting for thst sugar of late. Becoming your own joy strategist, as our US friends call it (no, I'm not kidding). From dressing head-to-toe in rainbow shades (optimism chic is the new reverse normcore), through reading three chapters of a book without glancing at Twitter, to walking over the dirty washing to hole up in a darkly-lit pub or eating warm Camembert with a spoon (yep, mine), small moments of joy are what will get us through these challenging times. And with La La Land you get 128 minutes of pure, unadulterated joy. Who wants to go hunting? Mr Gosling will take you.
Watch Emma Stone And Ryan Gosling all things La La Land in the clip below