Mulholland Drive

Mulholland Drive ★★★★★

"I had a dream about this place."

Hey friends, breaking the fourth here to ask you a question. One of my best friends has been pushing me to get on YouTube for months now, and it's got me wondering: would y'all be interested in content similar to what I produce here on Letterboxd in an audiovisual format like YouTube? If we did it, we might also drop the audio into podcast feeds in case that format is more appealing, and whatever we do it's not going to replace my Letterboxd content.

As I look forward to the future and hope to be able to afford to do things like buy a house and raise children, I find that I spend too much time on this (wonderful, fulfilling, meaningful) film stuff to not be making any money from it, so this would in part be a way to move toward correcting that imbalance without, like, getting a (real) second job, but it would also be an excuse to do more deep-analysis content that I love doing and that feels more popular over on YouTube.

Because of this, we've been playing around with the idea of doing our first video as a thorough & exhaustive explanation of Mulholland Dr., so I decided to rewatch it to generate some fresh screening notes. In the process, I developed an overview of the film to help me keep its broad narrative in mind, and I thought some of y'all might like it. It's full of spoilers (obviously), but if you're finding yourself asking "what even happened in that movie?" it just might help:


Diane Selwyn (Naomi Watts) wins a jitterbug contest, is inspired to become an actor, flies to LA, and, while working there, falls in love with Camilla Rhodes (Laura Harring), but Camilla gets engaged to director Adam Thresher (Justin Theroux).

In her jealousy, Diane hires a hitman to kill Camilla, and, after receiving the sign of his success (the blue key), she goes to sleep and has a dream in which she unconsciously rearranges reality to create a fantasy world where the power dynamic between herself, Camilla, and Adam is completely flipped, making them into a powerless amnesiac and a compromised failure (respectively), and making herself into a great actress victimized by crooked meddling.

In this way, she displaces her guilt by shifting the blood money and blue key onto Camilla and constructs a mystery for her, the solution to which shows her the result of Diane's suicide, both to demonstrate the pain she feels and to persuade (read: guilt-trip) Camilla into loving her.

This dream has the opposite of its intended effect: Diane wakes up traumatized by her own actions, and, unable to alleviate her sense of loss through further fantasies of her reunion with Camilla, she kills herself.


Here comes a big old mess of lists
100 Favorite Films | Favorites from My Favorites
Timeline of Favorites | Top 10: 2000's
Film Noir | Metacinema | What Even Happened?

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