Mulholland Drive

Mulholland Drive is not an “It’s a Wonderful Death” movie, but it is very interesting and requires some explanation. I believe I’m correct about this one, but feel free to disagree.

To put the movie into the correct time sequence, split it into two parts, where the first part ends with Rita looking into the box. Then we get to Diane’s real life, in which she’s a two-bit actress in a relationship with bisexual Camilla. Camilla falls for the director, who has recently separated from his wife, and now they want to get married. Diane is pretty pissed about this, and pays someone to kill Camilla. When she goes home, she sees the signal that the hit man promised to give her that tells her that the job is done, and Diane sits and fantasies about Rita. The first part of the film is her entire fantasy, weaving Camilla coming to her as a lost amnesiac, Diane’s fantasy of being a fabulous actress (which Naomi Watts is), and the director getting his comeuppance from the mob. Diane even gets to fantasize about how she gives up a chance at a great acting role to come back to Camilla/Rita when Rita needs her, showing, in her fantasy, Diane’s devotion to Camilla which Camilla did not show in real life to Diane. Eventually Diane’s fantasy ends with Rita looking in the box, and we are transported to watching Diane masturbating to the fantasy. The movie ends with Diane going nuts because she just sent a hit man to kill her lover, and the older couple from her fantasy chase her, in her mind, and she can’t get away from her reality. So she kills herself.

One could argue that Diane looks at her life, considers what her life should have been like in her mind, and decides that since it cannot be that life, that she’ll end her life instead. That’s not really the best thing for everyone, and for the film to be an “It’s a Wonderful Death” film, Diane would need to go back in time and kill herself earlier so that Camilla would not be hindered by Diane. But Camilla wasn’t particularly hindered, so that wouldn’t even be a reasonable plot twist either. It’s a great film, fun to think about and watch, and it’s got two sexy lesbian scenes that are quite different, but it’s not “It’s a Wonderful Death.”

It can be also argued that the fantasy actually is another type of “It’s a Wonderful Death” movie, where Diane simply masturbates while thinking about Camilla, kills herself, and is allowed by supernatural powers to live out more of her life in the fantasy as “Betty”. In this fantasy, she goes to Diane’s house and finds her own dead body, and her fantasy begins to get stranger and stranger, as “It’s a Wonderful Death” films of this type do. Eventually her fantasy ends when the box is opened and Diane’s time on Earth is ended. This is an interesting and compelling plot line, but Diane’s body could also be discovered by Betty in her fantasy as acknowledgment that she’s planning on killing herself, which seems quite reasonable since she just had her lover killed.