Reel Reviews

Movie Reviews - Mulholland Drive Plot Explanation & Analysis


First of all - BACKGROUND INFORMATION

<div style="float:left">
<script type="text/javascript"><!--
google_ad_client = "pub-9764823118029583";
/* 125x125, created 12/10/07 */
google_ad_slot = "8167036710";
google_ad_width = 125;
google_ad_height = 125;
//-->
</script>
<script type="text/javascript"
src="http://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js">
</script></div>{/googleAds}

Betty, one of the blonde actresses is not Betty- Her real name is Diane Sellwyn. She lives in Canada, won a dance contest and is now in California trying to become an actress. Her aunt died and left her $50,000. She meets Camilla Rhodes, a well known actress on the set of the SYLVIA NORTH STORY directed by Adam Kescher (sp?) Here, the two girls start having a steamy affair, except Diane's love for Camilla is not reciprocal. Camilla tries to break up with her, but it does not work. At the same time, she is playing a malicious mind game with Diane-inviting her to parties, etc., just for her to witness Camilla and Adam's new found love relationship.

One night at a party, Diane breaks down when she realizes Adam and Diane are to be married. Diane freaks out, and hires a hit man to kill Camilla. He says to her that once the deed is done, a blue key will await her in her house.

Other characters we meet during this party/time is COCO, Adam's mom, a weird cowboy, and a mobster-looking man sitting at a table. We also overhear important comments: Such as Adam finding his wife and pool boy together. We also hear Coco say, "Call me Coco Everyone else does" These quotes will prove to be important later. We also learn that Diane has this other fallback girlfriend with whom she has recently broken up. Her other girlfriend has all of her belongings at Diane's house, and wants them back.

So Diane, miserable, hires the hit man, and goes to bed that night. Before she does, she reminisces (sp?) about her jitterbug contest, and then goes to sleep. This is the very beginning of the movie, during the credits, where we see the montage of jitterbug dancers and then we see her head going down towards red satin sheets and the screen fades to black as she falls asleep.

The following - the body of the movie- is her dream

The dream begins with "Camilla" in the back seat of a limo, she is almost shot by hired hit men, but a freak accident allows her to escape-but also erases her memory.
This NEVER HAPPENED. This is just in Diane's dream. Her guilt and regret was manifested here, she dreamt/hoped Camilla would get away.

In Diane's dream, Diane is personified as Betty- a perfect, innocent, wonderful actress. Something she never was nor will be. This is sad, to me- that her dream is just made up of hope and wishes... BUT ANYWAY

Mulholland Dr.So, we meet Betty, who is really a perfect clone of Diane, and throughout the movie "Betty" is helping this amnesiac "Camilla" (who refers to herself as Rita). This is also Dianes way of wishing/dreaming she and Camilla were together--the two women do eventually become together.

We also have the character of Adam K who is directing his movie. However, he needs to replace his lead actress in his movie? Why, is Diane dreaming this? Well probably because Camilla in real life is the lead actress, and she knows Camilla will be dead, and Adam will have to re cast the part.

Diane hates Adam and therefore gives him a terrible day in her dream. His wife is found with a pool boy- this is important because he mentioned this that night at the party and she incorporated it into her dream.

Also he is forced to cast a certain "Camilla Rhodes" for his lead actress. This is important because this is Diane rationalizing in her dream why Camilla got all the good parts in movies, and she got nothing.

She dreamt there were major Hollywood conspiracies, and that even though Betty or Diane was an AMAZING actress, Camilla Rhodes would get the part. This was evident when Betty/Diane tried out for a part and did an amazing job. Although the real Diane probably could not have accomplished this feat, in her dream she saw herself doing this, but all for nothing because Camilla Rhodes had been chosen by the mob/weird group of people forcing Adam to choose her. WINKIES is also important- This, to me, is just a manifestation of lust, evil, greed, malice... All these feelings motivate evil in our world, therefore it does it all. It would seem that if someone saw all of this pure evil, they would die- like the man did. WINKIES is also important because this is where the real Diane was talking to the hit man. She noticed a waitress, Betty- a cute, bubbly girl- and subsequently took her personality in her dream and switched the two names.

ALSO- important. All the mob people made Adam say "THIS IS THE GIRL" they repeated this over and over. Note when real Diane gives the pic of Camilla R to the hit man, she says "THIS IS THE GIRL" She also has $50,000 in her purse. In her dream, everyone is using her words "THIS IS THE GIRL" about Camilla becoming the actress. Rita also has the $50,000 in her purse. Again this is reversing/incorporating everything in her dream... It proves it's a dream.
This is the girl" is important because it's using Diane's own words to provoke guilt, etc. in her dream.

When RITA and BETTY find the dead body in the bed of Diane's apt, this, to me- is just the realization in DIANE's mind that she is in fact dead without Camilla. Like I mentioned before, the sequence of the dead body, and most of the movie, is a dream, and Diane went to bed quite guilty and remorseful and probably contemplated suicide....this is the result.

ALSO- the hit man portrayed in the dream is INCOMPETENT! He cannot carry out a task, which is Diane's subconscious hoping dreaming that he will mess up his job with Camilla.

SO in the dream, the two women become very very close, something Diane always wanted, and in a way was getting... they have a wonderful relationship where Betty/Diane is helping Rita/Camilla, and Camilla/RITA respects and loves Diane/Betty as well.

UNTIL....CLUB SILENCIO!!! This is my all time favorite scene. No hay banda--- everything is an illusion-- this is SUCH a symbolic scene- here we realize everything so far is an illusion- that nothing is what it seems. Ever have a dream when you know you're dreaming? Well that's what Betty/Diane did, she started to realize this beautiful thing with herself and Camilla/Rita was about to end, and therefore she started convulsing.

Mulholland Dr.Rebekah Del Rio serenaded us beautifully about Diane's feelings for Camilla, and the two women begin to cry - they know what's about to happen subconsciously... they know it's about to end.... That would explain that. And the fact that REBEKAH dies while singing, this shows again that its over.

Diane awakens from her dream...
So then Betty disappears, Rita opens the box... and we have Diane waking up from her dream. The weird cowboy says, wake up. She had seen the Cowboy at the party and incorporated him into her dream.

Diane is now Diane....no more Betty. The colors are less vivid, sound track is dull, dream's over. The rest of the movie is a series of flashbacks/present, but is all reality.

Diane's GF comes to get the ashtray, the blue key is there.. but wallah the key is gone! A flashback to Camilla and Diane-- Camilla trying to break up with Diane... then the set of the movie- Adam and Camilla- all I explained before.

Then we have the night of the party, where Diane gets her ideas for her dream. The limo, the cowboy, the pool story, "call me Coco", the jitterbug contest, Adam and Camilla, the espresso ... Such a sad movie

So in the end, the first two shots of the movie are set in present time, everything else is a dream, go back and watch it- It all makes sense. Then Diane wakes up and you find out why she dreamt what she dreamt...


Sequence of Events in Mulholland Dr.

1. Diane wins the Jitterbug contest. Her family (the old man and old woman) is there and cheers for her. (this is much earlier than any of the rest of the movie. years possibly)

2. Camilla and Diane fool around on the couch (notice the ashtray). Camilla says that they shouldn't do that anymore.

3. Camilla and the director talk and kiss in the car for the movie.

4. Diane gets a phone call and is told to get in the limo. She is dropped of at the bottom of the directors house. The dinner scene occurs in which she finds out that her lover Camilla and the director are getting married.

5. Diane sits in a restaurant with the hit-man and tells him to kill Camilla.

6. Diane returns home and feels guilty.

7. She falls asleep on the pillow.

8. Diane has a long dream. What happens in this dream is coming from guilt and the people surrounding her life. The director who is getting married to her x-lover has a terrible life. Her x-lover loves her again. Diane is an amazing actress and does a great job. The part with the men in the restaurant and the monster is all just a part of the dream. The cowboy has nothing to do with the movie for the most part. He was just seen by Diane at one point and he stuck with her so heÕs in her dream. Her dead aunt shows up. She mixes up names just like everybody often does in dreams. None of this is real. There are many things her dream feeds off of... to many things to try to explain. The dream begins with Camilla (Rita) in the car and ends with the cowboy waking her up. That is all within her dream.

9. A knocking wakes Diane up. It is her neighbor looking for the rest of her belongings. She picks up her ashtray (notice the blue key) and says that there are detectives looking for Diane.

10. While making coffee, Diane thinks she sees Camilla (who she just had killed). Its just a daydream.

11. Diane goes and sits on the couch and stares at the blue key. Someone is knocking (I think that this could be the detectives looking for Diane). The little people are her family representing her conscience. She gets scarred of the knocking and the haunting visions of her loved ones and she runs into her room and shoots herself.

THE END

This is the order in which the movie plays out.

1, 7, credits, 8, 9, 10, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 11 end credits


The Answers to David Lynch's Clues in the DVD Insert:

Pay particular attention in the beginning of the film: at least two clues are revealed before the credits.
The red comforter and pillows, upon which Diane will later awake, and Betty/Diane's appearance with the elderly travelers seen later in the film, who may be her parents or grandparents.

Notice appearances of the red lampshade.
First time: Nobody answers the telephone next to it, but the final ring carries over into the next shot, where we are introduced to Betty for the first time. Second time: When Rita/Camilla calls Betty/Diane to tell her that the car is right outside to take her to Mulholland Dr.

Can you hear the title of the film that Adam Kesher is auditioning actresses for? Is it mentioned again?
The film is entitled "The Sylvia North Story." We hear the name again at the dinner scene at Adam's house, when it is revealed that Diane auditioned for a part in the film, but lost it to Camilla.

An accident is a terrible event... notice the location of the accident.
Mulholland Drive is the location of Rita's accident in the dream sequence, whereas in real life the limo ride culminated in the dinner party where Camilla and Adam Kesher announced their engagement in front of Diane.

Who gives a key, and why?
The hit man gives it to Betty/Diane, to inform her that the job is done.

Notice the robe, the ashtray, the coffee cup.
The robe turns into a pair of cutoffs, the empty ashtray wasn't there before, and the coffee cup turns into a glass of iced tea (or a glass of scotch on the rocks), as Betty/Diane walks towards the couch with Rita/Camilla in it. This indicates that the scene has seamlessly segued into a flashback, as we see Diane give the same ashtray back to her neighbor just a few minutes earlier in the film.

What is felt, realized and gathered at the club Silencio?
Sadness, that everything is an illusion, and that Betty/Diane has the blue box, and Rita/Camilla had the key to that box.

Did talent alone help Camilla?
No. It is strongly implied that she is sleeping with the director. In Diane's dream interpretation, a vast mob conspiracy is behind a girl named "Camilla Rhodes," while her own dream persona is the one who appears to have real talent. Diane feels the world is against her, and an unfair collusion behind the scenes kept her from the part in The Sylvia North Story (see clue #3.)

Notice the occurrences surrounding the man behind Winkies.
The dream comes true, except it's day, not "half-night." The significance of the location is that in real life, the restaurant was where Diane arranged to have her lover killed. In her dream of the events, a monster lurks there, described as being "the one who's doing it." Subconsciously, she associates the location with something terrible. When the man in her dream comes face to face with the monster, which he believed to be a dream of his own, the realization that it is really there causes him to drop dead from shock, prefiguring Diane's own breakdown and suicide when she confronts her actions.

Where is Aunt Ruth?
She's working on a film in Canada in Diane's dream. In reality, she's dead.


Read viewer comments and theories about Mulholland Drive


See the lyrics to the song "Llorando" by Rebekah del Rio


 

James Dean Discussion   Forum

Read other Mulholland Drive Theories

Movie Reviews

Our Tweets

 

You are here: Home Movie Reviews On DVD/Blu-ray Movie Reviews - Mulholland Drive Plot Explanation & Analysis
Follow us on Twitter
Like us on Facebook
Google+