Legendary record producer Jane (Frances McDormand) is working on a new album at her Laurel Canyon house and studio for a British band whose lead singer Ian (Alessandro Nivola) is her latest - and much younger - lover. When her recently graduated medic son Sam (Christian Bale) arrives to stay, with his girlfriend Alex (Kate Beckisnale), also from Harvard medical school, he doesn’t expect Jane to be there. While the young lovers look for a permanent apartment, their emotional lives are thrown into chaos by the clash of cultures that Sam and his mother represent, threatening every relationship in the Laurel Canyon house.
 

3.5
Outstanding performances but painfully slow and ultimatelyn a deeply frustrating plot.

Lisa Cholodenko\'s second film after High Art moves to the West Coast of America, to Los Angeles, a world away from those uptight states in the East. Sam, Christian Bale, is in love with Alex, Kate Beckinsale, they\'re both graduates of Harvard Medical School. They move to Los Angeles so Sam can study psychiatry while Kate completes her dissertation on the reproductive life of fruit flies. His mother, who\'s a record producer based on the west coast, is lending them her home to stay in, but when they arrive Mother/Jane to her son, Frances McDormand, is having problems with her new album, and the house is full of drug affected musos, including lead guitarist and singer Ian McKnight, Alessandro Nivola, mom\'s latest squeeze. While Alex is literally seduced by Jane and Ian and the world of music, Sam resists his attraction to Sara, Natascha McElhone, a colleague at the hospital.

This film does have a rather cliched trajectory but at the same time it\'s a very believable one, helped largely by the terrific performances. They \'re all good, outstanding even, with Allessandro Nivola totally captivating as the cocky rock star. This is not a film that takes you on a journey you\'ve never been on before, but it travels familiar territory gently, sensitively and truthfully, and in a strange way, unsensationally.