Laurel Canyon (2003) - Rotten Tomatoes

Laurel Canyon2003

Laurel Canyon (2003)



Critic Consensus: Though the movie itself is flawed, McDormand is fantastic as Jane.

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Movie Info

Writer/director Lisa Cholodenko follows up her much-acclaimed 1997 debut High Art with this examination of a young couple seduced into a hedonistic, left-coast lifestyle. Taking its title from its central locale, Laurel Canyon focuses on a pair of upper-middle class lovebirds from the East Coast who relocate to Los Angeles. Freshly minted from Harvard, Sam (Christian Bale) and Alex (Kate Beckinsale) are eager to continue their medical studies out West, but they need some lodging while they hunt for a home. Enter Jane (Frances McDormand), Sam's estranged, Age-of-Aquarius mom, who's more than willing to put the couple up in her lavish digs. Jane is a successful record producer whose latest charge -- both in the studio and in her bedroom -- is Ian (Alessandro Nivola), a brazen, libidinous twentysomething Brit-rocker. As Sam and Alex settle in at Jane's, they gradually lose their straight-and-narrow approach to life and begin to experiment. Alex takes to Ian and Jane, while Sam is wooed by co-worker Sara (Natascha McElhone). Laurel Canyon features a score by Shudder to Think's Craig Wedren; the music for Ian's band was provided by Sparklehorse's Mark Linkous and indie-rockers Folk Implosion.

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Dennis Howard
as Mr. Elliot
Catherine McGoohan
as Mrs. Elliot
Judith Montgomery
as Woman No. 1
Patricia Place
as Woman No. 2
Willo Hausman
as Cambridge Party Guest No. 1
Greg Wolfson
as Cambridge Party Guest No. 2
Brandy L. Nightingale
as Cambridge Party Guest No. 3
Catharine Scott
as Stewardess
Lyle Kanouse
as Hospital Patient No. 1
Marcia Cholodenko
as Hospital Patient No. 2
Lauri Johnson
as Landlord
Reef Karim
as ER Doctor
Lou Cutell
as Elderly Man
Ted Koland
as Room Service Guy
Philip Pavel
as Concierge
Mark Linkous
as Himself
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Critic Reviews for Laurel Canyon

All Critics (112) | Top Critics (36)

The movie has poise and a lightly perspiring sexiness, but also an uncertain sense of humor...

March 15, 2021 | Full Review…

The movie's contrivances begin to rankle.

April 25, 2003 | Rating: 2/4

Fizzles out in the third act, but we're long past caring. By then, Frances McDormand has usurped the movie and turned it into a lesson in character acting.

April 24, 2003 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Self-discovery seems to be the goal, but the revelations hardly seem worth the work.

April 18, 2003 | Rating: 3/5

McDormand is superb. Likewise Bale and Nivola.

April 17, 2003 | Rating: 3.5/4

If there is one reason to see Laurel Canyon, it's to witness McDormand in the kind of role she's long deserved.

April 11, 2003 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Laurel Canyon


A good dramatic story with a comedic side. It relies on the acting talents to carry the story, who do that quite well. Christian Bale, Kate Beckinsale and Frances McDormand all gave strong performances and worked quite well together. I feel that the movie lacked a message, but it was still enjoyable.

Conner Rainwater
Conner Rainwater

Super Reviewer

"Christan Bale and Kate Beckansale deliver a wonderful delight" I really enjoyed this movie. This one of Christan Bale's first and best films. Its about alot of things like affairs, relationships, mother and son, and rockers who do anything for sex. Its a big drama that anyone can enjoy. Watch this movie because it delivers more than you'd think.

Corey Wood
Corey Wood

Super Reviewer

Sexy strange.

Leigh Ryan
Leigh Ryan

Super Reviewer

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