Laurel Canyon (2002)

Laurel Canyon (2002)
  • Time: 101 min
  • Genre: Drama
  • Director: Lisa Cholodenko
  • Cast: Frances McDormand, Christian Bale, Kate Beckinsale, Alessandro Nivola


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.

One comment

  • The overall plot was weak, but they did a fair job of character development. I thought this was especially true for Sam (Christian Bale): at the beginning I found him so 1-dimensional but thought they really added some complexity to the character by the end that made me think about who this person was. Any movie that can make me think about the characters after the movie is over, did a good job of developing characters.

    Also, I think this movie possesses what has to be one of the most realistic and sexy scenes ever: when Sam & Sara are sitting in the car telling each other what they’ve fantasized doing to one another, I found that so raw and sexual. Almost uncomfortable.

    Frances MacDormand is good–she’s always good–but I thought this was a bit too easy for her. Like she just sort of laid back and played her role.

    I’m in love with both Christian Bale and Frances MacDormand so I had to watch this, but with the exception of the car scene, it was not great.

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