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Laurel Canyon (2002)

R | | Drama | 28 March 2003 (USA)
2:07 | Trailer

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When an uptight young man and his fiancee move into his libertine mother's house, the resulting clash of life attitudes shakes everyone up.



2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Fripp (as Louis Knox Barlow)
Russell Pollard ...
Imaad Wasif ...
Mickey Petralia ...
Alexandra Carter ...
Michelle DeMirjian ...
China (as Michelle Demirjian)
Dennis Howard ...
Mr. Elliot
Mrs. Elliot


Newly graduated psychiatrist Sam and his fiancee Alex move to Los Angeles for Sam's residency and into Sam's mother's house in upscale Laurel Canyon. Only problem is, Sam's mother is still there, supposedly finishing up a record that she's producing for the band of her new boy toy, Ian. She seems more interested in smoking pot and drinking than actually working though. Alex doesn't mind but Sam is quite upset. Alex starts off focused on her work (finishing a dissertation on genomics), but is soon distracted by the rock-'n-roll lifestyle going on around her. Meanwhile, Sam is equally distracted by beautiful Israeli intern Sara. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


On the road to the perfect life, Sam & Alex took a little detour.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality, language and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

28 March 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Atracção Acidental  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$149,099 (USA) (7 March 2003)


$3,661,906 (USA) (25 July 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Joni Mitchell, who was Lisa Cholodenko's inspiration for the Jane character, is among the musicians in Jane's photo gallery. See more »


On the plane, Sam and Alex ask for scotch and juice, respectively. The stewardess hands them a bottle (presumably of scotch), a glass of ice, and an empty glass. See more »


Sam: Why did you break up with Bobby? I thought Bobby was the real thing
Jane: Well, then I got to know him.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Special thanks to Christie Gaumer & Shakespeare and to Red Hot Chili Peppers. See more »


Featured in The 2004 IFP/West Independent Spirit Awards (2004) See more »


In a Funny Way
Written by Jonathan Donahue, Sean Mackowiack (as Sean Mackowiak) and Jeff Mercel
Performed by Mercury Rev
Courtesy of V2 Records, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

Absorbing character study with California ambience
2 March 2003 | by (Miami, Florida) – See all my reviews

I saw this film at the Miami International Film Festival and was thoroughly absorbed and entertained. I don't know if it will be as successful as the director's much-lauded "High Art" from several years ago; "Laurel Canyon" is not as serious, though it does explore some of the same themes. All of the performances are pitch-perfect. I suspect audiences will especially enjoy and identify with Kate Beckinsale's character: a studious and sheltered young doctoral student who takes to the hedonistic Los Angeles lifestyle in a big way. Frances McDormand and Christian Bale are also wonderful.

Music is almost another character in this film; it pervades the atmosphere. The music, by such artists as Mercury Rev and Clinic, complements and underscores the dynamics between the characters. It's been awhile since I've seen a movie with such an intoxicating sense of place as well: whether accurate or not, Los Angeles is portrayed as a sybaritic wonderland. The film revels in the sensuality and freedom of this rarefied realm, and it's intriguing to see the effect on the young couple.

When Frances McDormand's music producer character asks Alex her opinion on the record she's producing, Alex declines, saying she doesn't know much about popular music. McDormand responds, "Follow your instincts. It either pulls you in or it doesn't." This movie pulled me in.

15 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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