Metascore
61

Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 36
  2. Negative: 2 out of 36
Watch On
  1. Cholodenko doesn't put much activity into her languid movies. Watching them is like sagging back on the couch at a party that has run past 2 a.m., knowing we can leave -- surely nothing exciting is yet to happen? -- but basking lazily in the pleasant atmosphere of half-intoxicated flirtations.
  2. 50
    Not a successful movie--it's too stilted and pre-programmed to come alive--but in the center of it McDormand occupies a place for her character and makes that place into a brilliant movie of its own.
  3. Laurel Canyon lacks the sense of risk that "High Art" had, and in doing so, emasculates its apparent protagonist in Sam.
  4. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    60
    Like a late ’60s satire played embarrassingly seriously.
  5. The characters are tedious, as are the fussy performances of Bale and Beckinsale. Everything good in this rock & roll fantasy belongs to the sexy, worldly-wise McDormand, who makes Jane ripe, real, and irresistible.
  6. 50
    Rife with predictability and lacking any originality whatsoever, the lackluster Laurel Canyon demonstrates about as much depth as one of Ian's pop songs.
  7. Reviewed by: Mark Olsen
    50
    Cholodenko's new film relies on easy caricature over true character such that the film fails to build emotional momentum or resonance.
  8. 50
    Worst of all is the movie's finale, a noble attempt to avoid an overly-pat conclusion that strays too far in the opposite direction.
  9. An underdevelopment of a bad idea that is entertaining, so far as it is, because of McDormand's totally unselfconscious performance. This wonderful actress is never less than interesting, and even as a caricature of a stereotype, she's fun to watch.
  10. Frances McDormand deserves much better than Lisa Cholodenko’s flat-footed Laurel Canyon...McDormand alone makes the picture worth seeing: Her character is a rash combo of steel and dissolution and regret.
  11. 50
    The plot is straightforward and predictable to the point of painfulness.
  12. 60
    Occasionally, the film invites a more dynamic touch than the careful slowness Cholodenko carries over from "High Art." But that same care gives the movie a seductive quality that would have been lost in a more hurried approach.
  13. 60
    The story is less a sustained narrative than a series of scenes. But personal dynamics are the main event, and McDormand's powerhouse performance alone compensates for many minor deficiencies.
  14. 60
    The spectacle of pretty people floating languidly across the screen notwithstanding, Laurel Canyon is short on conviction and long on contrivance. McDormand, however, has a ball.
  15. 60
    McDormand is the best thing about Laurel Canyon. She's also the most unfortunate victim of a film that seems unable or unwilling to give even its most intriguing and compulsively watchable character her due.

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