Over-analysis, perhaps?

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No offense intended, but I find some of these posts quite amusing, especially in the pretentious, serious tones that take place trying to analyse what Lynch is doing. Am I the only one that enjoyed this movie because of the hypnotizing mood it sets, and the great music, and terrific acting, and not because it had deep inner meaning that begs for this over-analysis?

This movie intrigues the mind, like Memento does, and Twin Peaks did. And the part of the pleasure is to try and figure out what is really going on here. But don't look too deep....I believe if Mr. Lynch happened across these threads, he would find them quite amusing, and encourage everyone to continue in it.....without giving a clue as to what HE really was saying. But sexual abuse, and Cowboy pimps and prostitution??? Come on!
Feb 1, 2002 8:20 AM
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I couldn't agree with you more. Although it is clear that most things in a Lynch movie should not be taken at face value, we all should be careful not to over-analyze this. A lot can be interpreted through inference. However, infering something from an inference of an inference of an interpretation is just too much.

Cowboy pimps and sexual abuse I think fall under this category. I'm not counting anything out, just voicing my opinion. Kudos to all the advocates of those theories for their imaginitive interpretations :-).

-RS
Feb 1, 2002 10:36 AM
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To me, and many others, the sexual abuse theory does not only have a lot of evidence, it also explains a lot about Diane and her relationship with DeRosa and Camilla. It also explains why the little old people came under her door and drove her to kill herself, why there were childlike screams in the background as the little people came inside, and why when she was masturbating she had the same vision that came up in the beginning of the film when she was standing with her grandparents after she won the jitterbug contest.
I have read several theories that seems like a real stretch suchas the cowboy pimp but most of those theories only make sense in particular scenes and wouldn't help us to understand Diane or the story much more. The sexual abuse theory would explain a lot of things in both Diane's dream and reality.
I know this isn't really the thread to defend it but I'm just throwing out my thoughts. And not that this is evidence at all, but Lynch does have themes of sexual abuse in several of his films so it's not like it would be terribly unlikely for it to be a key part in Mulholland Drive...
Feb 1, 2002 10:45 AM
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Interesting, TBickle....but this, to me anyway, is a good example of over-analysis.Now please temper my following remarks with the fact I have seen MD only once (though I am compelled to see it again soon, as I believe most would)...

Why do you think it is Diane's grandparents in the first scene? I don't recall any references to that effect, as opposed to Diane's direct reference to winning the Jitterbug contest during the party sequence. And why are do the 'little old people' imply sexual abuse? My view was that she met these old people on the plane(in her feverish dream, of course), they heard her naive, idealist plans for becoming a star, and in private laughed like hell about it, knowing that few attain those dreams....she then is later haunted by these 'evil old people' set loose by evil itself ( the monster behind the diner)who personify all that was truth in her Hollywood existence, which drove her to kill herself. No sexual abuse, just broken Hollywood dreams (and a murder) to cause her to off herself.
Feb 1, 2002 11:34 AM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Chasper
Interesting, TBickle....but this, to me anyway, is a good example of over-analysis.Now please temper my following remarks with the fact I have seen MD only once (though I am compelled to see it again soon, as I believe most would)...

Why do you think it is Diane's grandparents in the first scene? I don't recall any references to that effect, as opposed to Diane's direct reference to winning the Jitterbug contest during the party sequence. And why are do the 'little old people' imply sexual abuse? My view was that she met these old people on the plane(in her feverish dream, of course), they heard her naive, idealist plans for becoming a star, and in private laughed like hell about it, knowing that few attain those dreams....she then is later haunted by these 'evil old people' set loose by evil itself ( the monster behind the diner)who personify all that was truth in her Hollywood existence, which drove her to kill herself. No sexual abuse, just broken Hollywood dreams (and a murder) to cause her to off herself.
[/QUOTE]

It is an "assumption" that it is her grandparents in the first scene (but they ARE the same two old people that she met on the plane and laughed at her AND the same two people who chased her before she killed herself). Although considering they are two old people who are obviously close to her (otherwise why would they be celebrating her jitterbug contest win with her) we know that she KNOWS them in real life as well. Everyone we see in the dream was someone Diane saw in reality. She doesn't see the old people for real (she hallucinates them AFTER the dream) before her dream so we must assume that she knows or has seen them in the past. Everything points to her being "close" to them so thinking they are her grandparents is pretty logical.
She couldn't have just met those old people in the dream - their faces come from somewhere, from someone she knew before she had the dream. The evil behind the diner that let the little people out was representing Diane's past abuse and was letting out memories of her sexual abuse in the form of the people who abused her in her youth. This also explains why the monster behind the diner killed "eyebrow man"(the guy who told of his dream in the diner who represents Diane) killed Diane. She could no longer repress her feelings of being abused especially after the guilt of killing Camilla took over.
You honestly think Lynch just threw in these two old people, making sure to put them with Diane as she won the jitterbug contest which to me means they were close to her, to represent Hollywoods evil? He just has these two random old people that Diane never knew in real life chase her into the room where she shoots herself...??? These old people are in two VERY important parts of the film (the beginning with Diane when she won the jitterbug contest and the end when she killed herself). They were very important people in her life at some point and that is why they are in these two key scenes. Also remember the visions that came with Diane/old people in the beginning are the same visions she gets when she is violently masturbating at the end of the movie. It is when she is sexually abusing herself (she's crying as she's masturbating) that these old people come back and torment her until she shoots herself.

I wrote this pretty quick so if anything is unclear or you disagree with something I've said, feel free to question me!! I love discusses this movie!!:cool:
Feb 1, 2002 11:50 AM
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I'll also add that I wasn't really sold on the sexual abuse theory until after I saw MD for a second time...it DEFINITELY helps!;)
Feb 1, 2002 11:51 AM
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The reason I think the old people were connected to Diane in some way other than "just meeting them" on the plane is this:

If you were feeling guilty about something you had done, would it be more likely you'd feel bad about how some old people on a plane you once met would think about you if they knew what you'd done, or how someone you loved in life would feel if they knew, i.e. parents, grandparents....

The fact that they are in the opening scene with her, in the airport with her when she gets to LAX, and in the near-closing scenes would all suggest she had more familiarity with the "real" version of these two people than just passing acquaintance.

Or, Like someone suggested (I think it was ASCOTT) they are just metaphorical archetypes/symbols, and nothing more.
Feb 1, 2002 12:04 PM
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I agree completely with Bananna. While I would agree with the first theory that they are grandparents (or someone very close to Diane) even if they are just archetypes/symbols of something it would be of her abuse. Her abuse was with her when she won the jitterbug contest but all 3 people put on a happy face b/c Diane was trying to repress memories of her abuse. Once she had the hit on Camilla she could no longer hold back the demons (old people representing her abuse) and they drove her to suicide.
Feb 1, 2002 12:13 PM
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Just to throw in a little more evidence for the abuse theory (yeah it's all in the sexual abuse thread but i'll write it again anyway!:rolleyes: ):

The scene that Betty auditions for with the older actor. His name is "Woody" and he is "dad's best friend" and they're talking about Betty feeling guilty for this sexual affair. Hmmmm...could woody and dad's best friend be metaphors for penis?? That's why Betty says "I hate you, I hate us both" She hates him for abusing/molesting her but also hates herself b/c she feels so guilty and utterly helpless.
Feb 1, 2002 12:28 PM
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I am posting this here b/c the sexual abuse thread seems to have turned into the 'bisexuality forum'. No offense intended. Either way, this thread has picked up the discussion.

I certainly do not agree with the sexual abuse theory, but I was wondering if any of its advocates could please list all of the evidence briefly. Thanks.

-RS
Feb 1, 2002 1:40 PM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Cuban Nightmare
I am posting this here b/c the sexual abuse thread seems to have turned into the 'bisexuality forum'. No offense intended. Either way, this thread has picked up the discussion.

I certainly do not agree with the sexual abuse theory, but I was wondering if any of its advocates could please list all of the evidence briefly. Thanks.

-RS
[/QUOTE]

I didn't mean that the way you took it Cuban Nightmare. I wasn't complaining that another thread was started...I actually was thinking that I was the one going off topic. I didn't know if anyone wanted more sexual abuse stuff coming up in a different thread.
I will try to think through it and write as much as I can think of to support the sexual abuse theory. Keep in mind that a lot came up in conversation in the sexual abuse thread that I'm SURE I will leave out.
Feb 1, 2002 1:44 PM
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Hopefully Rusty Nail, Maitlaids, fearfactory and 22cute will add what I forget as they've come up with more of this theory than I have. Evidence for the sexual abuse theory (probably out of order as I'll just write down what I can think of):

1)The Old Couple - Represent Diane's grandparents who physically/sexually abused her.
EVIDENCE - a)In the beginning of the film they are standing next to her after she won the jitterbug competition. This shows that at some point in life she was close with them. Although they abused her she put on a happy face and repressed the memories of her childhood abuse. After the close up of Diane standing with them, the image blurs, becomes clear, and blurs again. Diane has this SAME image and she violently masturbates near the end of the film. She is finally confronting the sexual abuse of her past (this evidenced by the fact that before the little old people crawl under her door we hear the screams of a CHILD). After this the grandparents (representing her abuse) chase her into the room and b/c she can not deal with either the guilt of killing Camilla or the truth of her past she shoots herself.

2)The Monster behind the diner - The monster obviously represents some type of evil in Diane's life.
EVIDENCE - The reason I think that the evil it represents is her abuse is the scene near the end where the monster drop the paper bag holding the blue box. The little old people (her grandparents) run out of there and go to haunt Diane. The monster represents the abuse and when the monster lets the little grandparents loose it represents the memories of Diane's abuse coming back to Diane. Again, she cannot deal with the guilt of killing Camilla and the rush of emotions that come with the memories of her abuse so she kills herself. One of the reasons that the memory of her abuse comes back to her so strongly is b/c she just broke up with DeRosa (the neighbor) and Camilla just ditched her. This caused her to feel horribly alone and there is no longer anything to hold the painful memories back.

3)Betty's Audition - This to me is most important evidence.
EVIDENCE - I'm talking about the scene that she first rehearsed with Camilla and then for real for the director Bob Brooker. In this scene she was rehearsing with an actor named WOODY and Betty's character referred to him as Dad's Best Friend. It is obvious that this relationship (in the play they're rehearsing) is VERY inappropriate which is why Betty says "I hate you, I hate us both". Woody and Dad's best friend are references to a penis and Betty's abuser. In her dream Betty takes control and flips the tables. She is the one who makes the more sexual advance towards Woody. This is Diane's way of dealing with her abuse by (in her dream) trying to take control of it. Many victims of abuse have control issues and don't feel that they ever have control over their own lives. That is why in this dream Diane turns the tables on a lot of her relationships:a)Camilla/Rita-In the dream Betty leads Rita and is in control but in reality Camilla has complete control over Diane b)Woody/her abuser - She takes control over the abuser in the audition but in reality the abuser took control of her as an innocent child.
I have yet to hear any other reasonable explanation of Betty's audition scene.

This is all I can come up with now. Hopefully others will throw more evidence in as will I if I remember something I've left out. Obviously this film leaves a lot up to interpretation but many things point to sexual abuse (not to mention that it is a prevalent theme in several other David Lynch films).
Feb 1, 2002 2:14 PM
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Hello, everyone. I'm new to the forum and would like to join the discussion, if I may. I love this film! It moved me in a very profound way.

Anyway, I believe that Diane may have experienced some type of sexual abuse, as evidenced by the audition scene. However, it appears unlikely that the elderly couple perpetrated the abuse. Also, there is not enough evidence to suggest that it was indeed sexual abuse that led to her eventual suicide. Let me offer an alternate explanation?

I do think that the elderly couple and Diane are related in some capacity (perhaps grandparents, guardians, etc.). What I think they represent to Diane, however, is a sense of complete failure and hopelessness, as well as guilt over the type of person she has become. Think about it? She just inherited some money from an aunt, won a jitterbug contest, and goes to Hollywood to fulfill a life-long dream. We see the couple rejoicing with her upon winning the contest. From Diane?s perspective, this probably represents a hopeful new beginning, a chance to achieve some great things for herself and make her family proud. Winning the contest could very well be her greatest accomplishment. At the end of her life, when she?s lost all hope, when she?s feeling a devastating sense of guilt over the type of person she became (i.e., a murderer), who better to represent the failures in her life than those who were there with her at the beginning of the ride, those she wanted to make proud?

Diane's failures - as an actress, as a person, as a lover - became embodied in the elderly couple, who eventualy drove her to suicide. :eek:
Feb 1, 2002 2:55 PM
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Pretty much how I see the elders as well--representing her smalltown Ontario roots. They morph into Diane's daemon's when she realizes how far she has fallen--from young hopeful Hollywood engenue to grungy failure and murderess. The creepy monster behind the Winkies is the filthy daemon behind the Hollywood facade--the chew 'em up, spit 'em out reality of the Dream Factory that treats women like meat (hence the meat in his bag). Diane is killed by BOTH daemons--the internal one, which arises out of her lost dreams, her sense of failure in her personal life (with Camilla)--and the external one, which arises out of her sense of failure in her professional life (in Hollywood).

Now, she may indeed have been a victim of abuse, and though the evidence is more circumstantial than overwhelming, this is definitely a vibe in many of Lynch's films, so I won't completely disavow it here.
Feb 1, 2002 3:33 PM
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humanist or Dan (or anyone for that matter): What would be the purpose of Betty's audition other than to portray the idea that she was sexually abused?? I'm just wondering b/c I don't think I've heard another explanation nor could I think of one. The monster behind Winky's and the grandparents can be interpreted several different ways but I can't come up with any other purpose for the Betty's audition...
Feb 1, 2002 3:46 PM
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I don't have a definitive interpretation for the film (no one does, I suppose--not even Lynch) and the subtext of the scene is certainly suggestive of an abusive sexual relationship. It would certainly give Diane's character even more empathy if she had suffered some sort of sordid incestuous abuse.

However, it is also possible (since this is a dream, where we can twist reality into all sorts of pretzel shapes) that the scene perversely (and inversely) mirrors her relationship with Camilla. Remember the flashback sex scene on the couch where Camilla says "We shouldn't do this anymore" and Diane reacts with anger/resentment/violence? It is a weird echo of the audition scene, with Camilla trying to break off a sexual relationship in the same way that Betty is trying to get away from Woody. In the dream, Betty/Diane is the victim, trying to evoke our sym- or empathy, but in reality Diane is the abusive one. Wouldn't be the first incidence of Diane trying to spruce up her feelings about her life by making herself more sympathetic in the dream.
Feb 1, 2002 4:13 PM
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Can't the audition scene be explained by going back to the thread topic? Can it not simply be an amusing and shockingly revealing device to show the audience what really lies beneath the smiling, naive facade of Betty? A portent of things to come? To show that Betty is not as shallow as we might have originally thought ( and what Diane, in her subconscious,knows is true?)

yeah, that and the other thing
Feb 1, 2002 4:16 PM
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Sure it can, but even in dreams, things don't happen completely by accident. The sexual nature of the scene must have secondary purpose. I've tried to offer one plausible explanation, but--though I think it is a bit flimsy--I understand and appreciate the sexual abuse theory as well.
Feb 1, 2002 4:31 PM
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I think I would find it easier to accept all this in-depth dream analysis and deeper, 'secondary' meaning pulp if I really believed that the first 2/3's of the movie was MEANT to be a dream when it was filmed. I don't buy it though.....it was converted to a 'dream' so that the movie could be explained and finalized in 2 1/2 hours rather than a 22 episode(or several more)TV season(s).

yeah, that and the other thing.
Feb 1, 2002 4:42 PM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by TBickle
humanist or Dan (or anyone for that matter): What would be the purpose of Betty's audition other than to portray the idea that she was sexually abused?? I'm just wondering b/c I don't think I've heard another explanation nor could I think of one. The monster behind Winky's and the grandparents can be interpreted several different ways but I can't come up with any other purpose for the Betty's audition... [/QUOTE]

TBickle,

Actually, there was at least one other theory about the purpose of Betty's audition. I remember, because I'm the one who put it forth.

If you recall, at the pool party, Diane talked about meeting Camilla on the set of The Sylvia North Story, which Bob Brooker directed. She said she wanted that lead so badly, but the director didn't think much of her.

The director at Betty's audition was also named Bob Brooker, and he was portrayed in that scene as an absolute dolt.

Before they start the audition, Woody makes some comment about "playing it up nice at close, like we did with that black-haired girl, whats-her-name."

Now, from those snippets, I found it fairly easy to theorize that Diane was auditioning a scene from TSNS in such a manner as to outclass Camilla, who became the forgettable black-haired girl. (Perhaps she even played it exactly the way Camilla had done in "real life.")

In any case, she completely wowed everyone, except Bob Brooker, who was too stupid to recognize good acting when he saw it.

From there someone (I think it was richdubbya) made the comment that poor Diane couldn't even envision herself successfully getting that part, since we're told by the character of Linney James that "Wally's movie," whether TSNS or something else entirely, wasn't even going to get made.

(Richard, if I've misquoted you, or if someone else actually wrote it, I apologize.)

Anyway, I still think this is a pretty plausible explanation for the "purpose" of that scene for those of you who continue to resist the abuse theory. (I think it's pretty plausible, too, as an "additional" explanation for the scene, for those of us who DO support the abuse idea.)

See, we CAN all play nice!
Feb 1, 2002 5:15 PM
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