Laurel Canyon

Director: Lisa Cholodenko
Screenwriters: Lisa Cholodenko

Institute History


Sam (Christian Bale) is a straightlaced recent graduate of Harvard Medical School. He and his bespectacled fiancée Alex, (Kate Beckinsale), decide to move to Sam's hometown of Los Angeles, where he will complete his residency. Sam's mom, Jane (Frances McDormand), is a pot-smoking, freewheeling record producer whose sessions with the libidinous lead singer of her latest band often spill over to the bedroom. Sam has devoted most of his life to not being his mother's son, so when circumstances dictate that he and Alex move in with Jane until they find an apartment of their own, an emotional chain reaction flares and challenges everyone's identities and passions.

The luscious, intelligent, and darkly comical Laurel Canyon is a brilliant second effort for writer/director Lisa Cholodenko, who won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award in 1998 for High Art. Cholodenko once again displays her talent for creating a seductive and enveloping world inhabited by richly drawn characters who are compelled to reach beyond the narrow confines of their own experiences. McDormand's exceptional performance and Folk Implosion's fantastic soundtrack are the cherries on top of this delicious exploration of human nature under the pressures of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll.

— Shari Frilot

Screening Details

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