The last 30 minutes of David Lynch’s 2001 brain-bending masterpiece “Mulholland Drive” offer up a harrowing free-fall into a woman’s unraveling psyche — thanks to a mesmerizing performance by Naomi Watts, who subtly shifts from wide-eyed credulity to broken-down hysteria and back again, as the gravity of her character’s situation comes into shattering focus.
In a clip below that has recently surfaced on Twitter, watch as Watts gives a master class in wordless acting during a pivotal scene where her character, who is at this point Diane Selwyn, realizes she’s being dumped by not only her director (Justin Theroux), but also her would-be girlfriend (Laura Elena Harring). As it takes place in the film, the whole scene is excruciating to watch — and no doubt one of the most uncomfortably real depictions of a mind processing a breakup ever.
Naomi Watts gets applause from David Lynch and crew for her powerful non-verbal acting performance pic.twitter.com/8MUzNZPpwk
— Eyes On Cinema (@RealEOC) August 25, 2019
Watts recently re-teamed with director Lynch for Showtime’s 2017 revival of “Twin Peaks,” and while her role as Janey E. Jones in the series certainly wasn’t as juicy as Betty/Diane in “Mulholland Drive,” it was a reminder of her gifts when teamed with the surrealist auteur. After years of struggling in Hollywood — as hilariously depicted in the 2005 film “Ellie Parker,” with Watts playing a fledgling actor who can’t land steady work — “Mulholland Drive” is the film that put the Australian actress on the map.
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She recently appeared as Gretchen Carlson on the series “The Loudest Voice.” Oddly enough, her fellow Aussie BFF Nicole Kidman is also playing Carlson, in Jay Roach’s upcoming awards-season hopeful “Bombshell.” Watts also recently gave a wonderful performance in the racially charged Sundance favorite “Luce” as a mother desperately trying to hang on to the image of her adopted son as being the perfect child. Next up, she will star in the “Game of Thrones” prequel series for HBO, which is currently filming, as well as Claire McCarthy’s “The Burning Season.”
Naomi Watts has twice been nominated for Oscars, for “21 Grams” and “The Impossible,” and let’s just say she is long overdue for another.