A well-made character study, `Laurel Canyon,' explores the reasons for the distress and resentment that can reside between parents and their children. 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. Frances McDormand and Christian Bale are also wonderful.
I'm writing this in an effort to offset some of the negativity this film seems to have elicited. Then there's Natascha McElhone, Christian Bale's attractive colleague at the mental ward where he works. Her growing fascination with Jane and Ian leads to a scene where the three of them kiss one another while naked in the swimming pool.
The always smoldering Christian Bale puts in a simmering sensual performance as her son-the-doctor Sam. "Laurel Canyon" is a story about 'family'. Audiences have to be fed such things, constantly, or they'll lose interest, right? The main reason is because of the performances, especially from Christian Bale. They expected to stay in his mother's empty home while he worked at a psychiatric hospital and she worked on a thesis.
The film starts when Christian Bale, a psychiatrist and his girlfriend Kate Beckinsale move to California where Bale got a job at a hospital. I especially enjoyed her little speech to "Dr. Bale" that "naked is inner," that she didn't wish to conceal her "warm supple skin," while alluding to the barren desert that is the world out there. This is an ensemble performance so I wont single out any single actor for particular comment; the sound track is integral to the film and while present, does not overwhelm.
In the 1960's, when the nation was divided over a war that many thought to be a tragic waste of human life, when many citizens thought the man in the White House to be an incompetent crook, and anyone who protested got labeled `unpatriotic'. Superb ensemble performances by some of the most interesting actors working today. Of course it's inevitable not to happen. Jane's seeking shelter in the storm that is her life-she wants to connect with her son and future daughter-in-law, and she wants to find happiness in the arms of a much younger man, even though deep down she knows the relationship is all wrong.
Frances McDormand conveys the wierdness of having conservative offspring. Wrong, I hope. Although she is in her mid 40s, she lives the life of a rock star, smoking pot, drinking, partying, and hanging out with her rock star boyfriend Ian (Alessandro Nivola), who is 16 years younger than she. This is why some independent movies are such a pleasure to watch, because even though we are not there, we are those characters. Sam is a recently graduated psychiatrist, starting his residency, while Alex, who comes from a very wealthy background, and is also an MD, is finishing her Ph.D. dissertation on genomics.
His curious girlfriend is drawn into the lives of his mother and her boyfriend (Allesandro Nivola), with the potential for disastrous results. The screenplay in its simplicity has an incredible depth and reliability, whether it is on the awkward situations characters get into, or the sexual adventures, that some of us have been through.
Definitely McDormand's best work outside of "Fargo"; her versatility and talent continue to amaze and impress. Very impressed; tight script and great character acting, Drama/Crime #52FilmsByWomen #DirectedByWomen – In Progress.
He feels his mother was not a good parent and that she is irresponsible, and she is still living the carefree and wild lifestyle she has always lived. Enjoy! As the record producer Jane, McDormand comes off as both worldywise and vulnerable. I suspect audiences will especially enjoy and identify with Kate Beckinsale's character: a studious and sheltered young doctoral student who takes to the hedonistic Los Angeles lifestyle in a big way. Alex doesn't mind but Sam is quite upset. It looks like we don't have a Synopsis for this title yet. I never get tired of watching this movie, either. This disappointment can stem from the mistakes made by parents in the upbringing of their children, or perhaps the simple differences that separate family members.
While Beckinsale is experimenting with drugs and rock'n'roll, her boyfriend is falling in love with an Israeli doctor he works with at the hospital.
As a somewhat sheltered New Englander, she takes like a duck to water the laidback California lifestyle. Bale and Beckinsale shine as well.
And, they change. The words that spring to mind here are, 'heart warming' and this is a word that if I see it attached to a film, I run a mile. But, they change by degrees, not by full turns of the wheel. External Reviews All of the performances are pitch-perfect. When an uptight young man and his fiancée move into his libertine mother's house, the resulting clash of life attitudes shakes everyone up.
| Highly recommended. Every character starts to understand that they are all the extreme end of different spectrums and they must learn to meet somewhere in the middle. , Critical reception was mixed, with a 68% rating on Rotten Tomatoes from 110 reviews and a consensus summary: "Though the movie itself is flawed, McDormand is fantastic as Jane. Sony Pictures Classics (presents) Good Machine (in association with) Antidote Films (I) Distributors. Sam (Christian Bale) and Alex (Kate Beckinsale) are a newly engaged couple who move to Los Angeles to further their careers. , The film focuses in some depth on the challenge of trying to create successful pop music, showing work on two tracks (both actually written, and previously released, by the band Sparklehorse).
He did an amazing job playing a character going through some sort of inner turmoil, of trying to confine his emotions. We see her from the rear and she certainly has a nice figure. Due to a schedule change, his mother is still in the home when he and his girl friend arrive. Sam hung up …  The script was workshopped at Sundance Institute's lab. Meanwhile, Sam finds himself attracted to Israeli fellow resident Sara (Natascha McElhone), who is unapologetically interested in him as well. I really enjoy reading other folks reviews of films I have seen. I've just seen Laurel Canyon and I think it is a good movie. Showing all 112 company credits. "Laurel Canyon" is 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. The acting in the film was excellent.
The two must weed out their problems and come to terms with each other about the mistakes that Jane made while bringing up Sam. In a change of plans, however, Jane is still around, recording an album with her British boyfriend, Ian McKnight (Alessandro Nivola), and his band. My favorite part is when she's out running in her leos and stops to take in the view. Awards
With him, Frances and all the rest of the lot living there I was just hoping to see a nice mud slide come and take out that damn house. It is this frustration that plagues Christian Bale's character, Sam, in the film `Laurel Canyon.' The cast is great, the location work in Laurel Canyon is terrific and the characters are all interesting people. Upon returning home after his conversation with Sara, Sam decides to go to the hotel and discovers Jane, Ian, and Alex scantily-clad in the bedroom. This is a remarkable piece of tapestry in muted tones and hues, populated by complicated, confused, uncertain, searching people. The parent in question played to perfection by McDormand. Alex, however, is intrigued by the new lifestyle options presented by her soon-to-be mother-in-law. She gives Kate some real competition, which isn't easy to do.
The premise and development are as simple as it can be, but simplicity doesn't mean banality. , The relationship between Alex and Jane earned the film a ranking of 56 on Autostraddle's list of the 102 best lesbian films of all time. By straying from the "norms" of his serious, medical student world, Bale understands his mother's complexities and foibles and thus establishes the bond with her that he has possibly sought all his life. Unfortunately his mother who is also a record producer is staying at the Laurel Canyon house leaving the beach house for her ex. She's terrified of growing old, and has managed to combine single motherhood with a successful career. Things get even more complicated when Nivola and McDormand seduce Beckinsale while Bale and McElron (the israeli doctor) become more intimate. A brave choice and a fine film. There is nothin…
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