Laurel Canyon? When Mattbear submitted the film for me to review I had never heard of it, but I wasn't about to deny my most loyal reader a look at one of his favorite films. After all I did make an online promise and we all know that every oath sworn on the internet never gets broken. The day a user breaks such a promise, especially in bloggerland, massive natural disasters will erupt, Judge Judy will become president, and Scarlett will stop being hot.
Laurel Canyon is a small film set in the Hollywood Hills. The movie starts with a couple Sam (Christian Bale) and Alex (Kate Beckinsale) who are moving to the LA to finish their respective medical careers. Sam is a psychotherapist working on a residency and Alex is writing her dissertation on the mating habits of flies. Both of them move in with Sam's mom Jane (Frances McDormand), a record producer with upper class bohemian values.
While Sam is ashamed of his mother's lifestyle Alex is intrigued by the world Jane lives and works in as well as the people who inhabit it. Stripping down stereotypical New England upper calls values Alex slowly finds herself seduced by the music scene as Sam is being pursued by a hot colleague. Slowly their relationship shows signs of straining as both get more involved in facing various temptations which are abundant in their current environment.
If there's one reason to watch this movie it's Frances McDormand. She's amazing as the Joni Mitchell-esque producer with a serious lack of parental skills. Bale is always reliable and Beckinsale of course looks hot. Given it's performances the plot moves along about how you'd expect. There's no real surprises here since you've seen the 'couple with conservative mindset being thrust into a world of pleasure seekers' before, but this movie does it better than most. The characters for the most part are selfish and naive, but not unlikeable for reasons I can't explain. Since the film isn't complete formula and I enjoyed it well enough I'd recommend it.
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"There wasn't a moment in the film that I didn't enjoy, but neither was there anything that got my mind or heart racing." - Manohla Dargis