Laurel Canyon
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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… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 68%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The movie's contrivances begin to rankle."
‑ Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald
"McDormand is superb. Likewise Bale and Nivola."
‑ Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer
"It's a story about how people get seduced by Los Angeles. That still happens, you know."
‑ Kelly Vance, East Bay Express
"Despite a great ensemble of actors, it will leave you hanging from a cliff."
‑ Mark Sells, Oregon Herald
"Frances McDormand lets loose in a terrific new role as record producer, mother, and corrupter of curious girls."
‑ Marcy Dermansky,
"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."
‑ Jeff Strickler, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"If there is one reason to see Laurel Canyon, it's to witness McDormand in the kind of role she's long deserved."
‑ Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
"As a follow up to High Art, this melodrama is not as good or provocative as Cholodenko's debut. Even so, the film deals with female (lesbian) sexuality and as such deserves recognition."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"'We're left with a film that doesn't create enough interest in what went on in those Laurel Canyon backyards to justify pulling over and watching.'"
‑ Matt Kelemen, Las Vegas CityLife
"'Laurel Canyon' is a little dangerous, a bit unconventional and very seductive."
‑ Frank Wilkins, ReelTalk Movie Reviews
"Self-discovery seems to be the goal, but the revelations hardly seem worth the work."
‑ Bill Muller, Arizona Republic
"Laurel Canyon's end isn't entirely satisfying, but the story works."
‑ Eric Harrison, Houston Chronicle
"It pulled me in with its friendly, inclusive, nonjudgmental appraisal of human nature."
‑ Rob Gonsalves,
"No matter how many times she pushes her specs up her nose Beckinsale is never going to be believable as a nerd. Bale as a psychiatrist: it's easier to envisage him as Batman."
‑ Annette Dasey, Teletext
"...essentially worth checking out if only for the performances and Cholodenko's admittedly steady directorial hand."
‑ David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews
More reviews for Laurel Canyon on Rotten Tomatoes