(2002)

Critic Reviews

61

Metascore

Based on 36 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
80
Reconfirms the filmmaker's talent as an acutely observant chronicler of upscale bohemian subcultures.
75
The story of Laurel Canyon doesn't ultimately live up to the technical polish Cholodenko brings to it, but it's worth a visit if you want to check out the latest emotional vibes emanating from the Hollywood Hills.
75
New York Post
Bale, one of the most intriguing actors of his generation, plays a young man rebelling against his liberal upbringing with a mix of bemusement and lost-puppy anguish, making this film as much about mothers and sons as struggling couples.
67
The cast is as likable as it is improbable (especially Nivola, who all but steals the movie as the charmingly decadent rocker).
60
Washington Post
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.
60
Village Voice
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.
60
Dallas Observer
Laurel Canyon lacks the sense of risk that "High Art" had, and in doing so, emasculates its apparent protagonist in Sam.
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.
50
Chicago Sun-Times
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.
50
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.

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