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Robert Sean Leonard,
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
If you like being smacked in the face and having characters who behave in emotionally "traceable" ways (i.e., whose motivations are apparent as soon as they act), you won't like this film but what a joy it is to watch a film unfold in layers, slowly, subtly, un-rushed, in a way that most American films don't allow, too much in a rush to get to the next "plot point" and too obsessed with big dramatic turns. Audiences have to be fed such things, constantly, or they'll lose interest, right? Wrong, I hope. And, Laurel Canyon makes the point better than a debate ever will. This is a remarkable piece of tapestry in muted tones and hues, populated by complicated, confused, uncertain, searching people. And, they change. But, they change by degrees, not by full turns of the wheel. Kate Beckinsale should watch this film over and over, and get out of the Spandex and Leather of the comic book films she's been doing. She and Frances McDormand are as real as any two actors you'll ever see on film. There are a couple of possible story "cop outs" in this film, which we won't mention because they'd spoil the story. But, in the end, they might not be cop-outs at all. They might be preferable to answering all the questions and delivering us from the theatre all neatly reconciled and sent off to coffee and desert. Good for you, Lisa Cholodenko. A brave choice and a fine film.
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