If you miss the big-screen spectacle that once made the movies the movies, then Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land” may be your ticket. A rare original musical — one not based on a Broadway show — “La La Land” stars Emma Stone as Mia, an aspiring actress, and Ryan Gosling as Sebastian, a jazz pianist, who fall in love while chasing their Hollywood dreams. A gorgeous swirl of color and sound surrounding two of our most charismatic stars, “La La Land” is an unabashedly romantic movie with a song in its heart and two MGM lions in its eyes.

“Do you think it’s too nostalgic?” Mia asks after Sebastian has read her one-woman play (although she’s clearly speaking to us as well). His response: “That’s the whole point!” There’s a problem with nostalgia, though: It only reminds you that the past is gone.

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“La La Land” cleverly sets its old-fashioned stage with a modern-day Los Angeles traffic jam that turns into a horn-honking symphony with syncopated car-top dancing. It’s a boffo number (“Another Day of Sun”), but we’ll never see its like in the movie again. From that point on, “La La Land” belongs almost solely to Mia and Sebastian.

Theirs is a classic romance that begins as mutual loathing, then turns into head-over-heels love. Chazelle (“Whiplash”) dotes on his two stars, and for good reason: They’re great-looking, energetic and positively radiant with charm. As dancers, they’re not exactly Astaire-Rogers, but they gamely tackle Mandy Moore’s lively choreography and they mesh beautifully into the film’s vibrant, vivid landscape. Their airborne duet in the Griffith Observatory, which gives way to an Impressionist fantasia, is worth the price of admission.

And yet, “La La Land” has some glaring weaknesses. The music, composed by Justin Hurwitz with lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, floats along beautifully but won’t ring in your ears after the closing credits. What’s more, “La La Land” is limited to just two characters, aside from a slick musician named Keith (a serviceable John Legend), who lures Sebastian away from pure jazz to hollow pop. The Gosling-Stone numbers are lovely, but they can also feel repetitive.

“La La Land” closes with such a visually dazzling and highly emotional finale that it’s easy to overlook the movie’s shortcomings. If “La La Land” wins the Academy Award for best picture, as widely expected, it will be as much for what the movie reminds us of as for what it actually is.