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Laurel Canyon


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Editorial Reviews

Academy Award(r) winner Frances McDormand (Almost Famous, Fargo) stars in the sexy and witty story ofa hard-living, free-thinking, rock-and-roll record producer who finds herself unexpectedly sharing a house with her straight-laced son and his super-conservative bride- to-be. Written and directed byLisa Cholodenko (award- winning director of High Art) and also starring Christian Bale (American Psycho), Kate Beckinsale (Pearl Harbor), Natascha McElhone (Solaris) and Alessandro Nivola (Jurassic Park III).

Special Features

  • Director's Commentary
  • Featurette
  • Filmographies
  • TV Spot
  • Weblink

Product Details

  • Actors: Frances McDormand, Alessandro Nivola, Christian Bale, Kate Beckinsale, Natascha McElhone
  • Directors: Lisa Cholodenko
  • Writers: Lisa Cholodenko
  • Producers: Dara Weintraub, David McGiffert, Jeffrey Kusama-Hinte, Scott Ferguson, Susan A. Stover
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, Letterboxed, Live, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    PLEASE NOTE:
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 15, 2003
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00009MEKN
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,180 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Laurel Canyon" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

The mother is well aware of her son's anger but feels helpless to fix the situation, so she ignores it.
Modern Muse
The characters are hateful and at the end(once your worst fears have been realized) you end up thinking 'so what, why do I care, I didnt like the characters anyway'.
Seth J. Frantzman
Characters lack depth with the exception of the Mom played by Frances McDormand and the ultimately the film takes itself way too seriously.
R. J. Marsella

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Linda Linguvic HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 10, 2003
Format: DVD
I've always loved Frances McDormand. She completely gets into every role she plays. And in this film she's better than ever. Laurel Canyon is an area of Los Angeles where only the people who have "made it" live She's cast as Jane, a successful record producer in her mid forties. She lives her life with constant energy and enthusiasm. She smokes illegal substances and eats vegetarian. She looks great too, and is a "babe" in every sense of the word. We soon learn she has a long list of former lovers, both male and female. But currently she's involved with a young British rocker, played by Allesandro Nivola, and their couplings burn up the screen.
Her son, Sam, on the other hand, played by Christian Bale, is exactly the opposite. He's just graduated from Harvard Medical School and is engaged to Alex, played by Kate Beckinsale, who is not only a doctor, but also a research scientist. They're supposed to borrow Jane's home while he completes his residency in a local hospital, but it doesn't work out that way. Jane stays in the house, which is also a recording studio, to finish up a record with the rock band.
At the hospital, Sam meets a fellow doctor, Sara, played by Natascha McElhone and there is immediate electricity between them. And Alex spends her days in the house where she finds it impossible to concentrate on her dissertation and is welcomed downstairs to hang out with Jane and the band. Soon she's indulging in Jane's lifestyle. Eventually, she finds herself in a unique romantic scene.
Conflict is inevitable of course, and the film plays out in a predictable way. And, when I think of it, the storyline is a little silly. But I loved the fact that the film was about an unconventional lifestyle.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 11, 2004
Format: DVD
The story surrounds Sam's (Christian Bale) mother Jane (Frances McDormand) who is a successful pleasure-seeking record producer in California. Sam escaped the hedonistic life style of his mother to seek a more responsible spot in the world through attending the Harvard Medical School from which he has recently graduated with a emphasis in psychiatry. In addition, Sam has furthered his rebellion against his mothers life style by proposing to a beautiful Harvard scientist, Alex (Kate Beckinsale). The perfectionist Alex moves with Sam to California where she can work on her thesis in regards to fruit flies and Sam can begin his residency in psychiatry. In order to save some money Sam and Alex move temporarily into Jane's house, which is a haven for drugs, sex, and rock-n-roll. Alex, who grew up in a rigid life style with country clubs and specific societal rules, are fascinated by Jane's life style and begins to explore the world that she never has experienced, which is about to lead into an emotionally painful journey.
Laurel Canyon is a terrific film about inhibitions, choices, and love, which Lisa Cholodenko embodies through the different characters. Cholodenko depicts the personal rules of the characters through social interactions between the characters as well as in the mise-en-scene. These personal rules are about to be broken as the characters are set in a society where rules are not the norm or wanted. This leads to interpersonal conflicts as it will most certainly hurt the individuals in the social setting in which they live. The conflicts lead the audience to ponder what is acceptable and desirable in our contemporary society where many different norms exists. In essence these norms are scrutinized through the fine direction and performance by an excellent cast.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By J. Brown on July 21, 2003
Format: DVD
it's not "edge of your seat" or dripping with romance, but its good. good, in that you can FEEL it. the tension, the issues, the past, all of it. kate b. is OKAY, her guy is okay. their generic relationship is okay. but, i think its real.
Now, lets look at francis. SHE, ONCE AGAIN, IS INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! if for no other reason you rent this movie, RENT IT TO SEE FRANCIS!!!!!! could she be any more real???? what an actress!!!!! actually, what a SOUL. i mean, what a soul she must have to pull from (to play these roles). rent this movie. she, alone, makes it worth it.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas Carroll on October 26, 2004
Format: DVD
This film represents the best in independent filmmaking. Instead of formulaic plot that's heavy on action and skimpy on the acting, what you get in this film are stellar performances and an interesting story, a sort of look into the complicated life of a rather conservative medical student, Sam (Christian Bale) and his girlfriend Alex (Kate Beckinsale, who looks great as usual) and his somewhat embarrassed relations with his free spirited Record producer mother (Frances McDormand). While there is little in plot, it hardly matters in a film like this, as the performances take you away into a world most have never seen, namely a record producer's studio in the Hollywood Hills (Laurel Canyon). The best scenes in this film are when Ian (brilliantly played by Alessandro Nivola in a very convincing British accent) is recording two songs, receiving instant feedback by Alex and Jane (McDormand). I absolutely love the songs he sings ("Shade and Honey" and "Someday I Will Treat You Good") and rushed out to buy the soundtrack cd after seeing this film in the theater. In fact, the entire soundtrack is good, and that's another reason why I love this film.

Frances McDormand's performance as a mother more interested in producing a record album than connecting with her son at his personal interests is outstanding and Oscar-worthy. She's so free spirited and independent, that it wasn't difficult for me to see why the younger Ian was attracted to her in the first place. She does have her limits though, when Ian wants a threesome with her and Alex, she breaks the mood and explains to him privately why it just wouldn't work. Alessander Nivola also has the best performance of his career, fooling me into thinking that he was a British actor, not an American one.
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