User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 36 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 36
  2. Negative: 3 out of 36
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  1. PhantomFrame
    May 7, 2003
    8
    Frances McD is brilliant!! Worth the price of admission just to see her, but I enjoyed the film overall.
  2. Thewiseking
    Mar 17, 2003
    2
    An amateurish mess. this film very clearly represents a freshman effort of a not very sharp director. the film is trite, full of hollywood cliche, and embarassing attempts at symbolism. although much of the acting is awful, and the 2 female leads portraying physicians were laughingly miscast, frances mcdormand did turn in a pretty good performance. i fear this director is just anotherAn amateurish mess. this film very clearly represents a freshman effort of a not very sharp director. the film is trite, full of hollywood cliche, and embarassing attempts at symbolism. although much of the acting is awful, and the 2 female leads portraying physicians were laughingly miscast, frances mcdormand did turn in a pretty good performance. i fear this director is just another trust fund kiddie wasting time in hollywood, who ought to give it up. Collapse
  3. Katie
    Jul 6, 2005
    10
    Best movie I've seen in years! Brilliant performances by Alessandro Nivola, Kate Beckinsale and Frances McDormand. I never get tired of watching this one.
  4. StephenS.
    Nov 10, 2003
    5
    Having almost sabotaged her film, Cholodenko redeems herself with two "money shots" carrying genuine emotional impact. That is to say, when the wife and mother of the male lead (Christian Bale) declare their true feelings for him. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with the concept. A serious young med student gets into all kinds of emotional strife by taking his serious young bride Having almost sabotaged her film, Cholodenko redeems herself with two "money shots" carrying genuine emotional impact. That is to say, when the wife and mother of the male lead (Christian Bale) declare their true feelings for him. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with the concept. A serious young med student gets into all kinds of emotional strife by taking his serious young bride to stay with his embarrassingly louche record-producer mother. Problem one is casting. Frances McDormand is great as mother Jane, a difficult role combining heart, intelligence and lust. Alessandro Nivola coolly plays the cocky Brit pop singer having the affair with her. But how could anyone put Kate Beckinsale up against a trouper like McDormand, especially as Alex, super-brain scrabble player and genetics researcher? When we're still in recovery from Nicole Kidman's weird concept of Virginia Woolf? Problem two is motivation. No sooner arrived at Jane's house, our budding PhD files away her inhibitions and unwraps a remarkably eclectic Laurel Canyon libido. This complete behavioural U-turn is accompanied by scarcely any demonstration that Alex would actually have any such leanings. Then there's the cinematic style, oscillating between Junior Auteur and Sex in the City meets E.R. Finally, there's the finale, where Cholodenko simply closes up shop abruptly. I might buy this kind of anticlimax from someone like John Sayles, but only just. Expand
  5. MarcK.
    Apr 12, 2003
    6
    This film wasn't bad, but nowhere near what I see some of these critics are giving it. Frances McDormand is a favorite of mine, but I fail to see the incredible performance that all these critics have seen. Most interesting performance? Definitely Natascha McElhone. However, the worst casting is Kate Beckinsale. She is far too hot to be playing a moussy, naive geek. She does a good This film wasn't bad, but nowhere near what I see some of these critics are giving it. Frances McDormand is a favorite of mine, but I fail to see the incredible performance that all these critics have seen. Most interesting performance? Definitely Natascha McElhone. However, the worst casting is Kate Beckinsale. She is far too hot to be playing a moussy, naive geek. She does a good American accent though. Expand
  6. ChadS.
    May 18, 2003
    7
    Christian Bale and Kate Beckinsale are good here, but only when they're in the same scene with Frances McDormand. "Laurel Canyon" gets deadly boring when Bale's paired up with Natascha McElhone. We don't care at all about their affair. We love McDormand at the controls during the recording sessions and her feuds with the label. As Alex, Beckinsale has a tin ear for not Christian Bale and Kate Beckinsale are good here, but only when they're in the same scene with Frances McDormand. "Laurel Canyon" gets deadly boring when Bale's paired up with Natascha McElhone. We don't care at all about their affair. We love McDormand at the controls during the recording sessions and her feuds with the label. As Alex, Beckinsale has a tin ear for not liking the great Sparklehorse song. Expand
  7. SashaB.
    Jul 25, 2003
    8
    Laurel Canyon had me drawn in from the get-go. Fans of High Art will appreciate Lisa Cholodenko's second take on Love, obsession, art, and the subculture of a generation. Frances McDormand's performance was captivating as well as the rest of the supporting cast. The music was excellent and I will definately go out and buy this soundtrack. This movie is not directed at the Laurel Canyon had me drawn in from the get-go. Fans of High Art will appreciate Lisa Cholodenko's second take on Love, obsession, art, and the subculture of a generation. Frances McDormand's performance was captivating as well as the rest of the supporting cast. The music was excellent and I will definately go out and buy this soundtrack. This movie is not directed at the mainstream audience however if your like me, and appreciate moody, psychologically complex films, you'll like this one too. Expand
  8. J.RyanG.
    Jun 17, 2005
    6
    Films shouldn't have to try this hard.
Metascore
61

Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 36
  2. Negative: 2 out of 36
  1. The cast is as likable as it is improbable (especially Nivola, who all but steals the movie as the charmingly decadent rocker).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.