Mulholland Dr.

Opened Wednesday, May 17, 2023

“Fashioned from the ruins of a two-hour TV pilot rejected by ABC in 1999, Lynch’s erotic thriller careens from one violent non sequitur to another. The movie boldly teeters on the brink of self-parody, reveling in its own excess and resisting narrative logic. This voluptuous phantasmagoria is certainly Lynch’s strongest movie since Blue Velvet and maybe Eraserhead

From the absurd midnight automobile accident on the Los Angeles road that opens the movie and gives it its title, MULHOLLAND DR. makes perfect (irrational) sense. Lynch’s outlandish noir feels familiar, and yet it’s continually surprising, as when a bungled assassination turns into a Rube Goldberg mechanism involving two additional victims, a vacuum cleaner, and a smoke detector, or a scene begins with an abrupt eruption of pink and turquoise and a studio rendition of the Connie Stevens chestnut ‘Sixteen Reasons (Why I Love You).’

The narrative, such as it is, commences when a lush brunette of mystery soon to be known as Rita (Laura Elena Harring) dodges a bullet, staggers out of her crashed car, and descends from the Hollywood Hills into the jewel-like city below to find refuge in an empty apartment. She’s suffering from amnesia, which makes her the perfect foil for the flat’s caretaker, Betty (Naomi Watts), who arrives the next morning—blond, perky, and inanely optimistic—from the Ontario town of Deep River (named perhaps for the sinister dive where Isabella Rossellini made her home in Blue Velvet). Betty is innocently avid to become a star; Rita is forced by circumstance to impersonate one. Their first meeting is a mini Hitchcock film, with the dazed brunette assigning herself a name from a handy Gilda poster…

“MULHOLLAND DR. is thrilling and ludicrous. The movie feels entirely instinctual. The rest is silencio.” – Time Out New York

Screening as part of our summer series The Films of David Lynch.

Previously screened as part of our Autumn 2021 series,Waverly Midnights: Late-Night Favorites.”


  • Country USA
  • Year 2001
  • Running Time 147 minutes
  • Distributor Janus
  • Director David Lynch
  • Writer David Lynch
  • Editor Mary Sweeney
  • Cinematographer Peter Deming
  • Cast Naomi Watts, Laura Harring, Justin Theroux
  • Accessibility Assistive Listening, T-Coil

IFC Center does not generally provide advisories about subject matter or potentially triggering content in films, as sensitivities vary from person to person. In addition to the synopses, trailers and other links on our website, further information about content and age-appropriateness for specific films can be found on Common Sense Media, IMDb and as well as through general internet searches.