Laurel Canyon (2003) - Rotten Tomatoes

Laurel Canyon (2003)



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

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.more
Rating: R (adult situations)
Genre: Art House & International, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Lisa Cholodenko
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 15, 2003
Box Office: $3.6M
Sony Pictures Classics - Official Site


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 Gues...
Greg Wolfson
as Cambridge Party Gues...
Brandy L. Nightingal...
as Cambridge Party Gues...
Catharine Scott
as Stewardess
Lyle Kanouse
as Hospital Patient No....
Marcia Cholodenko
as Hospital Patient No....
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
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Laurel Canyon

Critic Reviews for Laurel Canyon

All Critics (121) | Top Critics (36)

The movie's contrivances begin to rankle.

Full Review… | April 25, 2003
Miami Herald
Top Critic

It's a story about how people get seduced by Los Angeles. That still happens, you know.

Full Review… | August 11, 2011
East Bay Express

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.

Full Review… | April 21, 2011

It pulled me in with its friendly, inclusive, nonjudgmental appraisal of human nature.

Full Review… | September 24, 2007

Despite a great ensemble of actors, it will leave you hanging from a cliff.

Full Review… | August 13, 2004

'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.'

Full Review… | March 3, 2004

Audience Reviews for Laurel Canyon

Relatively subtle, decently played inter-generational relationship drama - ultimately... kinda unsatisfying as a story. Felt like the film-maker had good characters, actors and settings... but it kinda went fffftt. Could have been good.

Reminded me a little of Beatty and Ashby's Shampoo.

I dug the establishing aerial sequence.

Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer


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

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

Super Reviewer

Laurel Canyon Quotes

– Submitted by Frances H (18 months ago)
– Submitted by Frances H (18 months ago)

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