Related: Classical InterpretationThe "Diane Selwyn Story"MD Timeline | Narrative layers

 Dream & Reality

Camilla is not dead
Core to this theory lies with refuting that Joe is a hit man. In Winkie’s, Diane only says, “this is the girl” which only implies what we choose to believe. The money could be for Joe’s services to spy on Camilla or try to find her [...]

The bribery theory
The money seen ready to be handed over by Diane to Joe in the Winkie's scene is not a payoff for a contract to kill Camilla, rather it is money paid to Joe to in some way influence the casting of Camilla in a film [...]

Camilla's love wAS just an illusion
The second part of the film which explains the facts behind the dream is just another delusion. There was never love between Diane and Camilla [...]

A different form of revenge
Camilla was involved in the disappearance or death of the first actress cast in the Sylvia North role and Diane was getting evidence to put her away [...]

Replay of Diane's Sexual abuse
Diane's uncle or father (or whoever) sexually abused her as a child, and Aunt Ruth knew about it. In her dream Diane gives herself a glimpse of Hell, or what she perceives Hell to be [...]

Betty & Rita = Light & dark Side of Diane
Diane is Betty in the dream, as she views her good side as dominant. Rita is really her dark side. Diane believes that she somehow has to fall in love with her dark side to become whole [...]

The old couple represenT Adam and Camilla
Betty's relationship with the old couple is an almost perfect repetition of Diane's relationship with Camilla and Adam [...]

Diane dreamt twice
Diane has this same dream twice. Once after her initial face-to-face meeting with Joe (not seen) and again after she finds the blue key [...]

Diane's suicide is not real
It's just another "fantasy" of hers. Diane's requiem is overloaded with dream element (old couple, bum, blue box, smoke). So either she is hallucinating severely or this whole sequence is in her head [...]

Diane was murdered
Camilla's success was due to her ties to the Castigliane brothers. Since her lesbian affair with Diane was a risk to her career the mob decided to have Diane murdered [...]

Diane projecting herself as Rita
Diane is really dreaming of herself as Rita…and Camilla is assuming the role of Betty in Diane’s dream [...]

The abortion theory
The film is a highly personal & symbolic psychosis on the part of Diane Selwyn concerning the death of her child, by (a form of) abortion [...]

The main story is about schizophrenia or Dissociative Identity Disorder. The jitterbug contest never happened. Dan is just a persona adopted by Diane [...]

Two Drug Trips
Diane is having two drug induced dreams of which the second one may be a more lucid re-telling of actual events through her hallucinations [...]

Battle of SUPER-EGO and ID
Sigmund Freud's structural model of the psyche - this is the general idea of Mulholland Drive. In the dream we see the duel, the fight, the cat and mouse game between the SUPER-EGO and the ID. [...]

 All Dream

All Real

It's Camilla's story
Camilla is the old blue-haired lady. It is her story - which is one of dreams, memories, and delusions. Camilla builds a dream that allows herself and Diane to be reunited and gives them another chance for love [...]

The Dream Was A Movie
The first part of MD is not really a dream of Diane, but her altered recollection of the movies she and Camilla starred in together. The dinner party is the production wrap-up party [...]

Two dreams of a third person
The film is made up of two interwoven dreams, each of which present a different interpretation of the only event that we know is for real - someone has died and it is probably a suicide [...]

Rita is real
Camilla survived the hit. She stumbles in to a place she knows, her mother in law is a landlady in. She doesn't remember anything but starts gathering the pieces of her memory. Betty exists only in Camilla's imagination [...]

A Dream within a dream
What if Diane really was still dreaming, and the first dream was a dream within a dream? Her suicide is her way of trying to wake herself up [...]

Metaphysical Explanations

Dying dream/Afterlife theory
The bulk of the film takes place after Diane has committed suicide. As her head hits the pillow in the opening scenes, we enter Diane's afterlife where she constructs an idealized scenario of her journey to L.A. [...]

Fate & Reincarnation
Repeating script of life: Two women of complementary nature become friends. Blonde must kill Brunette and then herself. But things get out of hand when the later survives the hit and stumbles into the next instance of the same story [...]

Rita and betty are soul wanderers
There is a myth that when you die of unnatural causes, your soul wanders about this plane of existence for some time before you realized what has happened [...]

A deal with the devil
This movie is about making deals with the devil. The two examples that we see the most of is Rita/Camilla and Betty/Diane, and with them, they got new lives for their bargain [...]

Parallel universes I
The blue box is the portal between two parallel universes. Each character retains vestigial memories of their parallel universe counterpart [...]

Parallel universes II
Realities that exist in different times and spaces, but with many elements in common and, in this case, one created in function of the other one [...]

The möbius strip
Arriving: Rita gets sucked into the blue box and reappears to  enter the apartment after the car accident. Diane rushes into the bedroom and commits suicide. She re-enters as Betty, meets Camilla and starts their adventure [...]

Rearranging the sequence of events
Diane's life has become an unbearable torture and she shoots herself, but due to the Cowboy she gets a second chance to live her life as Betty [...]

Posters' Theories

| blu-riven | Bob Brooker | ctyankeeDave H. | gandalf36HarryTuttleID-ea | jro | mdholic | richdubbya | Rochas | Stooka | unc84stevewoodlouse |

Early theory and dream related stuff:

Reality Theories:

Alternative theory:

Other Theories:

Split Personality:


Reviews & Analysis:



Cons Critics: