Theory - Two Fantasies of the Same Failed Actress

Exclusively reserved for discussion regarding David Lynch's 'Mulholland Dr.'
User avatar
Posts: 1
Joined: 04 Jul 2017
Status: Offline

Theory - Two Fantasies of the Same Failed Actress

Postby Fincher » 05 Jul 2017

I have a theory that I didn't find on the website's list, although I guess it could be seen as a variation of the "Two Dreams of a Third Person" theory.

Anyway, my theory is that it was all a dream and that the two parts of the dream are two different fantasies held by the same unsuccessful actress. The first fantasy is the obvious Hollywood dream. When that didn't pan out and the actress (who I'll call Diane, if only for expediency) grew disillusioned and bitter, she took on a second fantasy, that she would be involved in a lurid sex scandal that would lead to her having her lover killed. Since the lover in question, Camilla, was an up-and-coming actress, such a murder plot being uncovered would give Diane an alternate form of fame of the True Hollywood Story variety. This would reflect how unhappy she's become with her life, that she would indulge in such a bleak fantasy removed from what she really wants or her original dream because it's easier to imagine herself murdering someone than actually becoming successful in her career, and because it's preferable to facing the failure she's endured in real life.

The tragedy of the movie, then, isn't a murder-suicide, but simply that Diane gives up her dream, leaves Hollywood, and is subsequently forgotten. It isn't sensational because it isn't just her story, but a reflection of the story of so many people who go to Hollywood only to see their dreams die.

Mulholland Drive is a road in Hollywood, but it's also a road that leads out of Hollywood and to the highway north (for example, toward Canada). So the name of the movie itself could be a reference to leaving (or entering) Hollywood. The first scene is of a jitterbug competition, where the shadows of the dancers seem to be out of alignment with the dancers. Are they shadows, though, or are they other dancers who are somehow unseen? It could be that this represents Hollywood, where you have a famous (relative) few with countless unknowns lurking in obscurity. The dancers and the "shadows" interact oddly, and sometimes the dancers can be seen within the "shadows", disappearing from sight when the "shadows" move around. This could be an illustration of the turbulence of Hollywood fame, where some achieve success for a while only to fade into obscurity, or have comebacks. Stardom is malleable, but what remains true is that most will never get much attention and will be forgotten in time.

During the credits, a car (limousine) drives down Mulholland Drive. When the car stops, Rita says, "You don't stop here," which could easily mean that they're to stop somewhere else, but if they stayed on Mulholland and didn't stop they'd eventually reach the highway. After the accident, Rita doesn't remember who she is. This is often attributed to Diane wanting to control her, but instead it could be a fear of hers. The Diane Selwyn of the first part lies dead in her apartment for days without anyone realizing it, and Rita barely remembers her name and doesn't remember who she is. She's forgotten. She's a nobody.

One of the 10 Clues is "Who gives a key, and why?" If you take "key" figuratively, it could mean breaking into Hollywood, becoming recognized. Betty/Diane is given a key in each part. In the first, it's Aunt Ruth's house key, which corresponds to the foot in the door she receives from having an established actress as a relative. In the second, it's the key that comes from killing Camilla, which should bring with it its own sort of fame. Both of the these keys are illusory, though, part of dreams that ultimately fall apart in the face of reality. The only key that opens the magic box into Hollywood is Rita's, or rather Camilla's. When Camilla opens the box, just like she got the movie role in reality, Diane disappears, forgotten. The key also comes with a great deal of money, which is true of being a movie star.

Dan supposedly fears the man behind Winkie's, but the homeless person isn't a man. Also, while this is only my reaction, she doesn't seem all that threatening when he encounters her. However, there is a man behind a wall who does have power, at least in the dream, and Mr. Roque would be threatening to Diane because his choices are what determine whether she succeeds or fails as an actress. If this is her dream, it wouldn't be inconsistent for others in the dream to fear what she fears. Another example would be Rita fearing her own key. Also, his face being one you wouldn't want to see outside of a dream could be a reference to Twin Peaks.

The homeless woman, then, wouldn't scare Dan to death because of what she does but because of what's been done to her by the powers-that-be in Hollywood. Diane's been ignored, rejected, and degraded. The homeless woman represents her shame at her failure. When the homeless Diane puts the blue box in with trash, she's throwing her dream away, giving up and crawling back home to Canada to face the same people who never thought she'd make it in Hollywood to begin with. The old couple laughed at her when she was optimistic and full of dreams, and they taunt her now that she admits defeat.

Club Silencio is a dream version of award ceremonies like the Academy Awards. The dialogue that the presenters say is scripted in advance, but this isn't itself important so much as it's a metaphor for how Hollywood sees people as expendable. The presenters are there to say their preordained lines, and if they don't, someone else will come along who will. The woman who "sings" Llorando falters, but the show goes on. Diane leaves Hollywood behind, but Hollywood didn't need her and won't remember her.

The woman with the blue hair is Hollywood itself, glamorous, dignified, and aloof to those it doesn't deem worthy for whatever reason. Diane loved the movie industry, but it didn't love her back. She gave the key to Camilla instead. It was at Club Silencio that they found the box that Camilla's key unlocks, and both were blue like the woman's hair. At the end of the movie, she says "Silencio" not because Diane dies but because her Hollywood story is over, and Hollywood couldn't care less.

Otherwise, Aunt Ruth packs up and leaves Hollywood to shoot a movie in Canada when Betty is from Canada. After the initial incident with the Castigliane Brothers, Adam says, "I'm going home" repeatedly, reflecting Diane's real world decision to go home. After the limousine crash, there's a lot of smoke. There's also smoke near the homeless woman at the end, as well as smoking coming from Diane's bed after she shoots herself. Since the crash made Rita forget, the smoke could correlate to Diane being forgotten after she leaves, her time there obfuscated by smoke. The detectives find a pearl earring in the limousine, and at the very end of the movie the woman with the blue hair has a shining pearl earring. Diane could have lost an earring in the taxi home, and it would be the last remnant of her in Hollywood.

Return to Mulholland Dr.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users