Lost Highway Movie Poster Image

Lost Highway

Strange, disjointed; full of sex and violence.
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 129 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable

Extremely violent.


Numerous explicitly sexual scenes.


Very strong/abusive language.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:January 25, 2002
DVD/Streaming release date:January 25, 2002
Cast:Bill Pullman, Patricia Arquette, Robert Blake
Director:David Lynch
Studio:Focus Features
Run time:129 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong language, sexual scenes and extreme violence

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What parents and kids say

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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, it isn't for everybody, and it definitely isn't for kids.
Adult Written byrtor May 16, 2009

Lynch fan

i think that this us a great movie as a Lynch fan, although like most of his movies are not for kids as well as this one. it is confusing and disturbing like all of his movies.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byShadowX February 3, 2009

Weird, just plain weird

I am a huge fan of Lynch and I must say this might be ne of the wierdest movies I have ever seen. Its good ut it requires alot of thinking to figure it out.