Lost Highway

Movie review by
Sarah Wenk, Common Sense Media
Lost Highway Movie Poster Image
Strange, disjointed; full of sex and violence.
  • R
  • 2002
  • 129 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Extremely violent.


Numerous explicitly sexual scenes.


Very strong/abusive language.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this film is extremely violent and contains numerous explicitly sexual scenes. It's also confusing and disturbing, without any resolution.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJim24 January 23, 2019
One of Lynch’s weaker films, but nonetheless worth watching. It’s violent but briefly so, sexual but not overt or graphic. It’s more surreal and disturbing in t... Continue reading
Adult Written byMike H. June 8, 2018

Good Lynch film

Interesting but inconclusive
Teen, 15 years old Written bywho3697cares June 7, 2009
I love David Lynch, and besides Eraserhead and mabye Mulholland Dr., this is my favorite of his. Of course, with its unusual plot, both weird and philosophical,... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byCaesar2018 June 9, 2018

Intersting and Inconclusive

Worth watching for any Lynch fan, but limited appeal to those unfamiliar with his other works

What's the story?

Bill Pullman plays Fred Madison, a jazz musician. He and his wife Renee (Patricia Arquette) find a series of strange videotapes on their front steps. The police are called and before long Fred is accused of murdering Renee and is sent to prison. There, somehow, he is transformed into another character, Pete Dayton (Balthazar Getty), a young auto mechanic. Pete soon meets a gorgeous woman, also played by Arquette, who seduces him in more ways than one. The cast also includes Robert Loggia (who has a wonderful but violent scene about tailgating) and Robert Blake, who is really, really creepy and mysterious as a really, really creepy and mysterious man (in the credits he's listed as Mystery Man).

Is it any good?

The first thirty minutes of LOST HIGHWAY are a David Lynch fan's dream. All his trademarks are there -- the darkness, the atmospheric soundtrack, the rich colors, the exquisitely slow pacing, the long silences, the disturbing mystery. There's no logic to the plot, and no resolution. After the transformation of the main character, it's almost as if reality has become unmoored, and the viewer can either float along with it or try (most likely in vain) to wrench some sense out of it.

Lynch is a brilliant director, and the film has the look and sound that he's made his own. But it's muddled and confusing, and ultimately feels somewhat manipulative -- is the director laughing at us for trying to follow this scrambled story? Is there something there that we're just not smart enough to figure out? Die-hard Lynch fans and film majors may want to check this one out, but for most of us there are much more accessible and enjoyable (while still creepy) ways to experience Lynch's work.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it all means, which is pretty hard to decipher. Film buffs and Lynch fans might analyze the filmmaker's techniques, particularly the use of sound and color. But this film is hardly family fare, nor does it lend itself to much discussion.

Movie details

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