Watch It

On DVD: Now | On Blu-ray: Now

The Canyons Review Critics


Dave White Profile

The Networking Dead Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 2.0

    out of 100

    Generally unfavorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 25

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    The Canyons is billed as an erotic thriller, but the sexcapades of these empty-headed twentysomethings are far more likely to elicit yawns than titillation.

    Read Full Review

  • 30

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Todd McCarthy

    Far from the renegade, boundary-pushing, sexually explicit sensation that its makers have been suggesting, The Canyons is a lame, one-dimensional and ultimately dreary look at peripheral Hollywood types not worth anyone's time either onscreen or in real life.

    Read Full Review

  • 40

    out of 100

    The New Yorker David Denby

    The Canyons is not porn, but it has the demoralized second-rateness and the lowlife inanity of the porn world.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    The Canyons is a sleazy soap opera that fails primarily because it gives us no one to care about and no reason why we should be interested that we don't care.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

    The Canyons may not work, and the sex (as well as the synthesized glop on the soundtrack) may be tragically unhip, but it was made by a director who still cares.

    Read Full Review

  • 70

    out of 100

    Variety Scott Foundas

    The major exception is Lohan, who gives one of those performances, like Marlon Brando’s in “Last Tango in Paris,” that comes across as some uncanny conflagration of drama and autobiography. Lohan may not go as deep or as far as Brando, but with her puffy skin, gaudy hoop earrings and thick eye makeup, there’s a little-girl-lost quality to the onetime Disney teen princess that’s very affecting.

    Read Full Review

  • 70

    out of 100

    Village Voice Stephanie Zacharek

    People who don't understand movies often speak of them as escapism, a kind of passive fantasy. Lohan's performance in The Canyons, so naked in all ways, is the ultimate retort to that kind of idiocy: To watch it is to live in the moment.

    Read Full Review

  • 83

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Schrader tries to find the human side of it all, and he scores with Lohan, who taps a vulnerability beneath her dissolution to remind you why she's still a movie star.

    Read Full Review

  • See all The Canyons reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

not for kids

Bleak film has unlikable characters, much sex, little point.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Canyons is a very sexually explicit drama about unpleasant, self-centered people who are vaguely involved in the Los Angeles film industry. It stars James Deen, a real-life porn star, and Lindsay Lohan, who's better known these days for her off-screen mishaps -- stunt casting that's generated plenty of buzz for a bleak film about unlikable characters. Expect plenty of male and female nudity and graphic sex scenes, lots of drinking, some violence, and strong language ("f--k," "s--t," and more), as well as some drug use.

  • Families can talk about how The Canyons depicts sex and relationships. Is anyone in a healthy relationship? What role does sex play? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values on these topics.
  • Do you think this movie would have received much attention if Lohan wasn't the star?
  • What do Tara and Christian get out of their relationship with each other? Do they love each other? Do you think they even like each other?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: It's difficult to find a positive message in a film that focuses on selfish and narcissistic characters who use each other at every point and still manage to get away without any kind of repercussion.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Nobody in this film stands out as a positive role model. They lie to each other, are unfaithful to their significant others, use and manipulate people to get ahead, and care only about their own desires and needs. Nobody grows in any way that could be seen as a positive, and some clearly get even worse.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Someone is murdered, with blood shown on clothes. Several intense arguments between couples. Two men get into a shoving match that leaves one on the ground. A man menaces his girlfriend, yelling at her and threatening to hit her.

  • sex false5

    Sex: Several explicit scenes include full male and female nudity. Extended graphic sequences with a variety of sexual activities, including intercourse, oral sex, and group sex.

  • language false4

    Language: Many scenes include swearing, including "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "bitch" "d--k," and more.

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: Though few brands are actually visible, the main characters enjoy the trappings of wealth, including fancy cars, stunning homes, and the latest high-tech gadgets.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false4

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Many scenes show people drinking beer, wine, tequila, and other hard drinks at restaurants, bars, parties, or just hanging out at home. Few social encounters take place without alcohol as the lubricant. Some people smoke cigarettes, and one scene includes cocaine.