Metascore
36

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 29
  2. Negative: 14 out of 29
  1. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Jul 31, 2013
    83
    Schrader tries to find the human side of it all, and he scores with Lohan, who taps a vulnerability beneath her dissolution to remind you why she's still a movie star.
  2. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Jul 30, 2013
    75
    You’d have to go back to the ’80s to find a film with this jaded a view of Hollywood, a town where every aspiring actor knows every yoga instructor who knows every producer and they all swap partners and dance. Constantly.
  3. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Aug 3, 2013
    70
    As a visual symphony, The Canyons is often masterful, and while it may be pornographic in places, it’s never campy. At the center of its cold, beautiful and half-dead world is the almost incandescent Lindsay Lohan, burning like a flawed diamond.
  4. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Jul 30, 2013
    70
    People who don't understand movies often speak of them as escapism, a kind of passive fantasy. Lohan's performance in The Canyons, so naked in all ways, is the ultimate retort to that kind of idiocy: To watch it is to live in the moment.
  5. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    Jul 30, 2013
    70
    The major exception is Lohan, who gives one of those performances, like Marlon Brando’s in “Last Tango in Paris,” that comes across as some uncanny conflagration of drama and autobiography. Lohan may not go as deep or as far as Brando, but with her puffy skin, gaudy hoop earrings and thick eye makeup, there’s a little-girl-lost quality to the onetime Disney teen princess that’s very affecting.
  6. Reviewed by: Geoff Pevere
    Aug 1, 2013
    63
    The Canyons is actually anything but gratuitously sensational. On the contrary, it’s rather restrained, even conservative affair, far more interested in expositional conversation and a sustained tone of bleached-out melancholy than cranking up the heat.
  7. Reviewed by: Matt Patches
    Jul 30, 2013
    53
    The Canyons has all the elegance and depth of a daytime soap opera, peppered with flashes of name brand nudity for a tantalizing hook. It’s a slog.
  8. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Aug 15, 2013
    50
    The Canyons may not work, and the sex (as well as the synthesized glop on the soundtrack) may be tragically unhip, but it was made by a director who still cares.
  9. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Aug 3, 2013
    50
    The Canyons is a sleazy soap opera that fails primarily because it gives us no one to care about and no reason why we should be interested that we don't care.
  10. Reviewed by: Matt Singer
    Jul 31, 2013
    50
    If Schrader and Ellis set out to prove that movies are dying or already dead, they might have done their job too well. The Canyons doesn’t play like the cure for a moribund industry, so much as a mildly effective, highly depressing administration of the last rites.
  11. Reviewed by:  Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
    Jul 31, 2013
    50
    In The Canyons, there’s no pleasure — only power struggles disguised as sex.
  12. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Aug 22, 2013
    42
    The Canyons comes across as a desperate gambit for relevance by a group of artists who want to reinvent themselves but don't know how. Fittingly, that's the theme of the film itself.
  13. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Aug 3, 2013
    40
    The Canyons has more in common with Schrader’s opulent immoral tableaux “The Comfort of Strangers,” “Auto Focus” and “The Walker” than with his other work (including the script for “Taxi Driver”). It’s weaker than those, though, and less biting.
  14. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Aug 1, 2013
    40
    With The Canyons, [Mr. Schrader] tries to get at something real under all the hard, glossy surfaces, but ends up caught in the divide between the movie that he seems to have wanted to make and the one he did.
  15. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Jul 29, 2013
    40
    The Canyons is not porn, but it has the demoralized second-rateness and the lowlife inanity of the porn world.
  16. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Jul 30, 2013
    33
    Instead of commenting on the vapidity of the film industry, Paul Schrader's miscast, poorly executed and utterly soulless drama is an example of the failing art form it seeks to indict. Though it has real ideas, Schrader and his team never manage to put them into action.
  17. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Aug 15, 2013
    30
    Paul Schrader, the once-brilliant screenwriter of such films as “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull,” has fashioned a movie that seems to exist to be repugnant. Maybe that’s the point; it was written by Bret Easton Ellis. Nearly every character in this movie is unlikable.
  18. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Aug 8, 2013
    30
    The Canyons is a bad accident everyone saw coming, and now it is here.
  19. 30
    The Canyons isn’t just bad, it’s rank — and it takes a peculiar sort of integrity to denude the frame of life to the point where it smells to heaven.
  20. Reviewed by: Ian Buckwalter
    Aug 2, 2013
    30
    Judging from the lack of care that went into making this one, I'm not so sure how much Schrader cares about the movies anymore either.
  21. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Jul 28, 2013
    30
    Far from the renegade, boundary-pushing, sexually explicit sensation that its makers have been suggesting, The Canyons is a lame, one-dimensional and ultimately dreary look at peripheral Hollywood types not worth anyone's time either onscreen or in real life.
  22. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Aug 10, 2013
    25
    The Canyons is billed as an erotic thriller, but the sexcapades of these empty-headed twentysomethings are far more likely to elicit yawns than titillation.
  23. Reviewed by: Christy Lemire
    Aug 2, 2013
    25
    Maybe the joke’s on us, and all the pre-release hype suggesting that a micro-budget train wreck was barreling our way was merely part of the marketing strategy.
  24. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Aug 1, 2013
    25
    Stephen Rodrick's New York Times article about the making of The Canyons had humor, suspense and propulsion. They should have made that movie. What we have here is dead on arrival.
  25. Reviewed by: Rodrigo Perez
    Jul 30, 2013
    25
    The cavernous emptiness of The Canyons cannot sustain itself, and it makes for a mostly flat, strained and uninvolving experience (not helped by the pace which makes 90 minutes, feels like a sluggish two hours).
  26. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Jul 30, 2013
    20
    She (Lohan) isn’t the best thing about this awful, lounged-out drama — it has no best thing — but in her defense, Lohan has been atrociously directed, allowed to get away with the worst aspects of her vocal-fry laziness, and trotted out like a symbolic objet d’art.
  27. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Aug 15, 2013
    12
    The best acting in The Canyons is done by the porn star. That might be all you need to know about this film, which is the kind of vapid, self-consciously artsy, waste-of-time movie that might never have seen the light of day (or the dark of theater) and would have gone straight to VOD were it not for the triple-threat name-recognition trio of the actress Lindsay Lohan, the director Paul Schrader and the writer Bret Easton Ellis.
  28. Reviewed by: Chuck Bowen
    Jul 30, 2013
    12
    Paul Schrader and Brett Easton Ellis don't have the sense of play this kind of narrative of one-upmanship requires, as we're never allowed to enjoy the characters' misdeeds.
  29. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Aug 1, 2013
    0
    Paul Schrader’s The Canyons is not the worst movie of 2013 — it's marginally better than "InAPPpropriate Comedy" and "Scary Movie 5," two even worse bombs that Lindsay Lohan also lent her rapidly diminishing talents to — but it is surely the most boring I’ve seen.
User Score
5.5

Mixed or average reviews- based on 29 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 7
  2. Negative: 1 out of 7
  1. Aug 16, 2013
    6
    You know a film is weird when the actors can't act for but deliver a good performance anyway? That's the case it seems in The Canyons, a film about deluded young adults who don't know what they want, and won't tell you even by the end of the film. What mostly brings attention to this small indie film is that it brings the official no-joke-I'm-actually-attempting-to-act return of Lindsey Lohan! A brave comeback into the film, alongside porn actor James Deen... Is that a sentence that should ever be spoken? Yes, the film co-stars a well known porn industry actor who takes the name from legendary actor James DEAN. This movie is already harder to review now that it's origins are explained, so let's go forth with the story.

    Lohan plays Tara, a woman who relies on rich douches to take care of her, a lifestyle suddenly becoming boring with her sociopathic trust-fund leech boyfriend Christian, played by Deen. Christian is a so called producer who only uses the title to show his father he's doing something with his life, and is in a open sexual relationship with Tara; allowing other men or women to join in. The main plot comes into focus when Tara reunites with an old boyfriend named Ryan, who is an actor in Christian's upcoming produced film. What happens when this is revealed is nothing more than a cruel game in which Christian suspects the worst and with both Tara and Ryan's mind. But it isn't all that engaging if any it sounded that way.

    The Canyons is more of a film. Nothing really happens in the sense of action or thrills! The Canyons relies on suspense and style, of which for style it get's an Grade A+! Much of the cinematography in the film is excellently done and stylized to a tone that almost resembles the seediness and loneliness of it's own characters. Suspense on the other hand is what barely keeps you going throughout most of the film, but for me it seems just enough that I don't really hate it or love it that much either.

    Lohan has a long and I mean LONG way to go if she wants opinions of her acting career to improve, but for now this role seems to suit her perfectly. Trust me, she's no Marlo Brando (who the hell even made that reference?). The real steal for the film is James Deen's performance as the twisted Christian, who's sexual style and deviance blurs your vision of him much through the story. In conclusion: Style is something only a few films can master perfectly, and this film doesn't master anything, but with mixed performances and characters that warp your view of the world, The Canyons is a must see for people who want to see the absolute darkness that comes from simple people.
    Full Review »
  2. Aug 4, 2013
    10
    This movie is not the best film i ever seen, but is goog and the Lindsay performance was excellent, i think that the actors did a great job in this film. Full Review »
  3. Aug 3, 2013
    6
    The whole fricken problem here is that Lohan can't act but delivers a solid performance in The Canyons. The plot is okay but the film is too violent and dark. At least not all focused on Lindsay. Anyway, not too great as Entertainment Weekly is praising it but no too bad either. Good popcorn thrills with jackass stuff. Full Review »