6.4/10
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146 user 97 critic

Laurel Canyon (2002)

R | | Drama | 28 March 2003 (USA)
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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.

Director:

Lisa Cholodenko

Writer:

Lisa Cholodenko
2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Frances McDormand ... Jane
Christian Bale ... Sam
Kate Beckinsale ... Alex
Natascha McElhone ... Sara
Alessandro Nivola ... Ian McKnight
Lou Barlow ... Fripp (as Louis Knox Barlow)
Russell Pollard Russell Pollard ... Rowan
Imaad Wasif Imaad Wasif ... Dean
Mickey Petralia Mickey Petralia ... Mickey
Melissa De Sousa ... Claudia
Alexandra Carter Alexandra Carter ... Darla
Michelle DeMirjian Michelle DeMirjian ... China (as Michelle Demirjian)
Rick Gonzalez ... Wyatt
Dennis Howard Dennis Howard ... Mr. Elliot
Catherine McGoohan ... Mrs. Elliot
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 March 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Atracção Acidental See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$149,099, 9 March 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,663,356, 3 August 2003

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$590,802
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Cambridge Party Guest #1: [speaking to Sam] Take care of Alex. We don't want her joining the Scientologists
[Sam smiles]
Cambridge Party Guest #1: , or the vegetarians
[all laugh]
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Soundtracks

Planet Queen
(1971)
Written by Marc Bolan
Performed by T. Rex
Courtesy of Muscadet Productions, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The impact of this film is somehow minimalized by a 'so what' attitude
5 May 2003 | by marxsarxSee all my reviews

"Laurel Canyon" is a story about 'family'. The grown son (Christian Bale) of a record producer (Frances McDormand) ends up bringing his girl friend (Kate Bekinsdale) to California. They expected to stay in his mother's empty home while he worked at a psychiatric hospital and she worked on a thesis. Due to a schedule change, his mother is still in the home when he and his girl friend arrive. It is obvious that there is substantial tension and resentment on the son's side of the relationship. He feels his mother was not a good parent and that she is irresponsible, and she is still living the carefree and wild lifestyle she has always lived. His curious girlfriend is drawn into the lives of his mother and her boyfriend (Allesandro Nivola), with the potential for disastrous results.

Frances McDormand does a fine job as the mother. Christian Bale and Kate Beckinsdale are also good as the young couple. Allesandro Nivola is entertaining as the mother's current lover. This is a nicely done film. However, something seems a bit flat and the story line doesn't pick up as much steam as a good drama should. It tends to have a 'so what' mentality about the immorality taking place, and the result is that the impact of the film is minimalized. Christian Bale and Frances McDormand have a poignant scene at the end of "Laurel Canyon", but again the film strangely mutes the power which the actors imbue their characters with.

I'd rate this film a 70/100. Fans of the actors involved will enjoy seeing their favorites on the screen, but others will most likely be a bit disappointed by this movie.


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