Mulholland Dr.

Critics Consensus

David Lynch's dreamlike and mysterious Mulholland Drive is a twisty neo-noir with an unconventional structure that features a mesmirizing performance from Naomi Watts as a woman on the dark fringes of Hollywood.

83%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 180

87%

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User Ratings: 189,210

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Movie Info

A dark-haired woman (Laura Elena Harring) is left amnesiac after a car crash. She wanders the streets of Los Angeles in a daze before taking refuge in an apartment. There she is discovered by Betty (Naomi Watts), a wholesome Midwestern blonde who has come to the City of Angels seeking fame as an actress. Together, the two attempt to solve the mystery of Rita's true identity. The story is set in a dream-like Los Angeles, spoilt neither by traffic jams nor smog.

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Critic Reviews for Mulholland Drive

All Critics (180) | Top Critics (49) | Fresh (150) | Rotten (30)

  • With Mulholland Drive, the trance that comes so easily to him is finally charged with the doom of a classic.

    March 16, 2020 | Full Review…
  • David Lynch's genuinely scary Hollywood horror film...

    October 9, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Mulholland Dr is reissued some 15 years after it was released. It was rapidly hailed as the first great US film of the century. None since has been any more powerful.

    April 26, 2017 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • It is an explosively sexy love story, rocket-fuelled with vanity and cruelty.

    April 14, 2017 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • Mulholland Drive is pure cinema - a gorgeous, noir-narcotic loop of heartbreak in the "dream place" of Los Angeles.

    April 12, 2017 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • Peppered with moments of pure, neck-prickling sensation, but the emotional centre remains elusive.

    April 10, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Mulholland Drive

  • Sep 16, 2017
    This is actually a David Lynch production that I think I figured out. I interpreted it as the price of fame, versus the harsh reality and what happens if you are not good enough. Very enjoyable and more accessible than Lynch's other work.
    Ian W Super Reviewer
  • Oct 11, 2016
    “It’ll be just like in the movies. Pretending to be somebody else.” A recent poll by BBC Culture surveyed the opinion of film critics, academics, and curators from 36 countries across every continent which consisted of 177 of the worlds foremost movie experts. They were tasked to compile an international list of the top 100 films released since the year 2000 to come up the best film of this century so far. It's no easy task but when all was said and done, the film that topped the list was David Lynch's hallucinatory and meditative film-noir, Mulholland Drive. It came as a surprise to some but for those familiar with the film itself, it was a fitting accolade. After a car crash leaves her with amnesia, Rita (Laura Harring) has no idea who she is or where she's come from and wanders around the streets of Los Angeles in a daze. She eventually finds refuge in an apartment where she is found by ambitious young actress Betty (Naomi Watts). Betty and Rita then work together and investigate the mystery of Rita's condition and seek the answers to her true identity. It's pretty much common knowledge now that Mulholland Drive was a failed proposal by Lynch to embark on a new television series. Originally conceived while filming Twin Peaks, it was to be a spin-off featuring the character of Audrey Horne (which was played by Sherilyn Fenn). Lynch went on to direct a 90min pilot for ABC but, in the end, the network executives rejected it. As a result, Lynch rejigged and regurgitated the material into a feature film and produced, arguably, his finest work to date. So complex is Mulholland Drive that Lynch released 10 clues to help in deciphering the plot. It's in my opinion that these 10 clues are actually useless. Lynch notoriously doesn't explain his work and the clues he provides only serve as a false pretence in which to view the film. He toys with our perceptions and preconceived ideas of how a film should be constructed. I've viewed the film many times and the clues predominantly lead to a dead end. This is a film that demands numerous viewings and yet can still come out different each time. That is the sheer genius and craftsmanship that has went into it. There's a lot about the film that simply isn't explained; narrative arcs and characters appear and then disappear. This could have been intentional or it could have been the result of the material being planned for a long running TV show where they would've been explored in more detail. Either way, it works and adds to the hallucinatory vibe that courses throughout. It could be argued that the film is just a series of scenes loosely tied together and it's up to the viewer to interpret for themselves. Like Lost Highway, what the individual viewer brings to the experience is what they will walk away with. If you invest the time and respect to Lynch's vision, you will be richly rewarded. It operates on many levels and the lines between fantasy and reality are constantly blurred. Some claim it to be a parallel universe, or repurposed elements to a person's failed past but the strongest interpretation is that it's predominantly a disconcerting dream state involving displacement and transference and where the reality and the fantasy intertwine. The significance of the The Cowboy and his cryptic messages, the importance of the blue key and the blue box, the uneasy encounter with the man behind Winkies and the moment at Club Silencio where we are reminded that what we see isn't necessarily always real. All of these tie-in with the symbolic importance of dream imagery. It can also be viewed as a cynical and scathing indictment of Hollywood culture - which could be a direct reference to the problems that Lynch has faced with studios in the past or even the issue that he faced in trying to promote this particular film as a TV show. At one point in the film, studio bigwigs try to influence a director's decision on whom he casts in his film. This was purportedly what Lynch faced by casting unknowns Watts and Harring in the lead roles here and one of the reasons that ABC rejected it (apparently they were too old). They couldn't have been more wrong, though, as Watts delivers masterful work. There are at least three different interpretations to her character and she nails every one of them. She showcases her extensive range which, considering the narrative of the film, ironically made her a Hollywood star overnight. Form over structure and the combination of sight and sound has always been a major attribute to Lynch's work and in Mulholland Drive, they are integral to the overall composition. Regular Lynch composer Angelo Badalamenti's haunting score compliments the uneasy mood and atmosphere created by Peter Deming's foreboding cinematography, lending the film a truly sinister and ethereal feel. The biggest achievement though, is how much Lynch respects his audience's intelligence without compromising or diluting the concept. This is a visual jigsaw and putting it together is a very challenging endeavour. Many, if not all, viewers will find pieces that just don't to fit. That aside, this is still an intoxicating mystery and even when it's seemingly inexplicable it's still gripping and hugely involving. Those who like their narrative spelled out for them needn't bother but those that enjoy a challenge will be enthused throughout this fascinating piece of work. We've all had those dreams where people, places and events are twisted and distorted and that's exactly what Lynch captures. There is a running, logical narrative that courses underneath it but it's very much delivered in dream logic. Any coherent interpretation lies within the importance of it's symbolism. When you consider Lynch's filmography over the years, this feels like the film that he has been building towards. All of his usual themes are on display; the psychological duality in an individual and the juxtaposition of innocence and corruption, beauty and depravity, shattered dreams and living nightmares. Put simply, it's an abstract masterpiece. Mark Walker
    Mark W Super Reviewer
  • May 02, 2016
    Has to be the best Lynch film. It has everything that makes some of his other films not so good, but here, it just works. In fact, it works extremely well. It is of course hard to describe, but if you havn't seen it, then seriously get this movie into your eyeballs. A rare, unforgettable, and deliciously wierd experience. Truly entrancing.
    Super Reviewer
  • Oct 05, 2015
    Mulholland Dr. does not have to be understood to be an interesting experience. I still do not completely understand it, but get something more out of it each time I watch it, and always enjoy the distinctive style and vibe (reminiscent of 80s music videos, but with a 90s mood). One gets the impression that it is not a cheap, gimmicky mystery but rather it is somehow coherent and that makes it open to rewatchings and discussion. It is like a jigsaw puzzle you cannot finish, because it seems like pieces are missing from it, but you later come back and find there are few more and fit them in. The performance by Naomi Watts contributes to the rewatchability of the film. A film about illusions needs a convincing character to be believed.
    Robert B Super Reviewer

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