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USA: Sony Pictures
UK: Columbia Tristar Films (UK)
Cast: Frances McDormand, Christian Bale, Kate Beckinsale, Natascha McElhone, Alessandro Nivola, Melissa De Sousa, Marcus Ashley, Lou Barlow, Marie Blanco, Alexandra Carter, Marcia Cholodenko, Lou Cutell, Michelle DeMirjian, Gina Doctor, Ariel Felix, Rick Gonzalez, Tom Griffiths, Willo Hausman, Dennis Howard, Lauri Johnson, Lyle Kanouse, Reef Karim, Nick Kiriazis, Ted Koland, Daniel Lanois, Mark Linkous, Cari Lucas, Catherine McGoohan, Judith Montgomery, Brandy Nightingale, Philip Pavel, Mickey Petralia, Patricia Place, Russell Pollard, Mark Rogerson, Catharine Scott, Heidi Sulzman, Imaad Wasif, Greg Wolfson
Director: Lisa Cholodenko
USA: 101 mins
UK: 103 mins
USA Rated: R for sexuality, language and drug use
UK Certificate: 18 contains very strong language
USA: Release Date: 7 March 2003 (Limited Release - Los Angeles and New York)
UK Release Date: 14 November 2003
'Laurel Canyon', a street that runs through the heart of the Hollywood Hills, has for decades been a sort of Greenwich Village of the West, home to many musicians, actors, artists and other bohemian types. Among its current residents is Jane (Frances McDormand), a veteran record producer, trying to come up with a hit single for a British band whose lead singer Ian (Alessandro Nivola) is her much younger lover.
Jane's son Sam (Christian Bale) and his fiance Alex (Kate Beckinsale) are both recent graduates of Harvard medical school. Conservative and serious, the couple move to Los Angeles to complete their studies, planning to stay in Jane's home, which she had promised would be vacant. But when they arrive, Sam is distressed to discover Jane and the band still working in Jane's home recording studio. Jane's carefree lifestyle is an anathema to Sam, who has devoted his life to being anyone but his mother's son. Sam and Alex begrudgingly agree to stay at Jane's house until they can find an alternative place to live.
Once in the house, however, Sam and Alex's tight control over their lives begins to unravel. Increasingly, Alex finds herself seduced by Jane and Ian, leaving Sam adrift, vulnerable to the approach of fellow medical resident Sara (Natascha McElhone).
The Brit-pop sounds of Ian's band and the sun bleached southern California landscape set the tone for this rigorously honest exploration of relationships between people with wildly divergent world views.