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

Of the five main actors in this movie, only one, Frances McDormand, uses her own accent. The others are: a Welshman (Christian Bale) performing an American accent; an English woman (Kate Beckinsale) performing an American accent; an American man (Alessandro Nivola) performing a British accent; and an English woman (Natascha McElhone) performing an Israeli accent. 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

Sara: [on the phone with Sam] I can't control my heart... I wouldn't want to, even if I could.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

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

Soundtracks

What's My Name
Written by Jocaine (as Joe Binki)
Performed by Jocaine
Courtesy of Imperial Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Absorbing character study with California ambience
2 March 2003 | by Brennan-8See 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.


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