Both Sides Now

'Laurel Canyon' finds Frances McDormand bridging the gap between lovely and sad

There's gonna be a heartache tonight: Frances McDormand in 'Laurel Canyon'
Sony Pictures Classics
There's gonna be a heartache tonight: Frances McDormand in 'Laurel Canyon'

That said, Laurel Canyon has a charm that lingers. For one thing, the film is beautiful to watch: the craggy spine of Mulholland Drive, the wet pavement of Laurel Canyon Boulevard, and the tree-lined stone patio of Jane's backyard. You can almost smell the sweet-wet scent of the evening air when Sam comes home from work. And Cholodenko really captures the rich-music-hippy milieu: The party scenes are perfect, complete with random lovelies and the re-quisite child who bewitches all the grownups. It's almost as if Cholodenko wanted to celebrate this realm for its own sake, and felt obliged to build a plot to that end. I only wish she could have saved a little of that passion for all her characters.

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