NewcomersGuide - The Classical Interpretation


Much of the discussion and content of this website is fairly advanced for newcomers to Mulholland Dr. This section will attempt to give an outline to what is considered probably the most popular interpretation. Whilst these words will probably provide a useful starting point for some, many will disagree with what is suggested here. It's up to you to find your own way, but this may help to start you on your path...

Diane Selwyn is a struggling actress in Hollywood. She moved to L.A. from Deep River, Ontario after winning a Jitterbug competition that inspired her to become an actress.

We descend into the pillow at the start of the film from Diane Selwyn's point-of-view. From now, until the moment we see her wake from the bed, Diane is dreaming. She dreams that she is Betty, a fresh-faced actress arriving in Hollywood. She dreams that Rita stumbles into her apartment after an accident, having lost her memory. She dreams that she wows the various assembled showbiz people at her audition. The dream climaxes with the haunting Club Silencio, the disappearance of Betty, and the opening of the blue cube back at Havenhurst. 

A knocking on the door awakes Diane from her bed, and she raises herself from her slumber to answer the door. The scenes that follow are intended to illustrate the breakdown of a relationship between Diane and Camilla and subsequent mental collapse of Diane. Tricky thing is that Lynch presents them to us in a non-linear style.

It's up to you to decide the chronological order of these scenes, but the crux of this interpretation is that it is inferred that Diane hires a hitman to kill Camilla. So from this point of view, the flashbacks can be seen as Diane's attempt to justify the murder in her mind, and the dream as an attempt to re-live and re-imagine Diane's life since her arrival in L.A.

This is just the framework of a popular interpretation. The fun really begins when you start to explore the connections between people, places and props in the two sections of this film, and gain a greater overall understanding of Mulholland Dr.


Related:
Lynch's 10 Clues to Unlock the Mystery 
MD Timeline 
The "Diane Selwyn Story" 
Pool of Theories 
Wrapped in Plastic Essay 
A multi-layered analysis of Mulholland Dr. 

3rd-party interpretations:
Everything you wanted to know about Mulholland Drive (salon.com)

No Hay Banda (themodernword.com)  

An independent analysis (Nicholas Gessler)

Mulholland Drive - Plot Explanation (Frank's Reel Reviews)

9 Theories (jackasscritics.com)

Mulholland Dr. MP3 Audio Commentary (flakmag.com)

MD review (bunter)

A possible reconstruction of Diane's true story - (Xav)