Mulholland Drive Movie Poster Image

Mulholland Drive

Fascinating movie for adults only.
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2001
  • Running Time: 147 minutes

What parents need to know


A dead body and disturbing images.


Nudity, explicit lesbian encounter, masturbation, sexual references.


Very strong language.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking and smoking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has very explicit nudity and sexual situations, including lesbian encounters and masturbation. It also has very strong language, violence, a dead body, and disturbing images.

What's the story?

David Lynch's MULHOLLAND DRIVE is not a story but a mosaic of stories, eras, moods, characters, and themes that intersect, overlap, and parallel like a dream. A luscious brunette (Laura Harring) is about to be shot by a limo driver when a car filled with carousing teenagers slams into the limo. The brunette limps away and hides out in an apartment. She has amnesia, and when asked her name, she says "Rita," as in Rita Hayworth. Betty (Naomi Watts), a fresh-faced ingenue hoping to make it as an actress in LA, tries to help Rita find out who she is. Meanwhile, young director Adam (Justin Theroux) is pressured by some very dangerous-looking guys to give a particular actress the lead in his new movie. Themes of dreams and reality, identity and anonymity, innocence and corruption, creativity and conformity, ripple and resonate in the scenes that follow. Eventually, Betty turns into Diane, who used to be dead, and Betty's aunt's landlady, or is it Adam's mother, is played by 1940's musical star Ann Miller, and all of this does not seem as out of place as it otherwise might. Betty tells Rita that she wants to help her solve the mystery because "It'll be just like in the movies."

Is it any good?


If you like movies that make sense, Mulholland Drive isn't for you. On the other hand, if Twin Peaks was just too upbeat and linear for you and you feel that the references in Blue Velvet were just too obvious and jejune, then this movie is for you. Watts and Herring are outstanding. Betty practices her corny audition scene with Rita with a competent but conventional reading. Then, when she gets to the audition, she completely turns it around, leaving us as breathless as the characters in the scene. Watts later suddenly becomes an entirely different character who has an entirely different history with "Rita" and carries it off splendidly.

Lynch cast unknowns as the leads but populated the margins of the film with old-time stars and semi-stars. This embellishes his themes and adds to the dreamy, half-remembered quality of the story. In addition to Miller, the cast includes Lee Grant, Robert Forster, and the star of the 1960's television show, Medical Center, Chad Everett.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about David Lynch's avant-garde approach to filmmaking.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 12, 2001
DVD/Streaming release date:April 9, 2002
Cast:Billy Ray Cyrus, Laura Harring, Naomi Watts
Director:David Lynch
Studio:Universal Pictures
Run time:147 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:violence, language and some strong sexuality

This review of Mulholland Drive was written by

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Parent of a 1, 8, 9, and 14 year old Written bythejokerspencil January 10, 2009


You will never seen another movie like this again. A must see but the most strong movie ever.The only film I will say for ADULTS ONLY.
Educator Written bymath professor June 18, 2011

One of the best artistic adult movies for those that understand metaphor.

This is a cerebral and artistic movie that many people have struggled through, especially those that have trouble with metaphors and expect a direct story arc. You can talk at length about the film without giving away any spoilers: the greater themes involve our lack of objectivity in relationships and the paradox within the vocation of acting. Some of the metaphors are so direct, they are elusive. There is a literal "little man behind a curtain", a literal "key" that is found by the main character when one of the movies punchlines is revealed, and a literal "pandoras box" that is opened by the key. The dream is the reality in this movie, so be prepared to see it with an open mind that is ready to be engaged. I would not recommend this movie for children. Most take caution with the intense romantic scene with two women, and the depraved scene of masturbation. I would caution parents more against the complexity of the movie - many adults have difficulty "getting it". Only the most mature and contemplative children would stand a chance of understanding what is happening.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Parent Written bythenoah May 30, 2013

One of, If Not The Greatest Film Ever Made

When it comes to the best directors of all time, in my opinion it comes down to either Sergio Leone or David Lynch, and it is probably David Lynch. And when it comes down to David Lynch's ultimate masterpiece, his magnum opus, it is his incomprehensible thriller, Mulholland Dr. You may hate the whole thing at first, unless you absolutely understand Lynch, but if you finally fit the pieces together, you realize Lynch has created a masterpiece and definitely one of the ten greatest films ever made. Watts gives an excellent performance, as does the rest of the cast. It does have a couple of lesbian sex scenes in it, and there is one masturbation scene, so it would go up to about 15+. Other than the sexual content, there is some language and very, very mild violence with no blood. Watch this film, but don't be discouraged if you don't like it. Give this film, or Lynch's career in general, another chance and you will find that it is a truly flawless masterpiece.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing