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Directed by David Lynch

United States 1986 120 mins. In English

Lynch’s fascination with small-town America perhaps reaches its artistic heights with Blue Velvet, his coming-of-age tale of Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan), who one sunny day in the fictional town of Lumberton finds a detached human ear in a field of grass and is determined to root out its story. He finds out from a local detective’s daughter, Sandy (Laura Dern), that the ear might be related to the masochistic lounge singer Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini) and her relationship to the sadistic, unhinged Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper). What follows is one of the great psychological examinations of the 1980s, when the pathos of the country was at its rawest and most fragile. Lynch’s oscillation between saccharine aw-shucks values and the deepest, darkest, and most violent truths of the American underworld has never been more clearly evident. “Three decades after its initial release, [the film] has lost none of its power to derange, terrify, and exhilarate. Debuting in September 1986, deep into the Reagan presidency and the same year that Top Gun was the biggest box office draw, Lynch’s fourth feature ingeniously plumbs the discordances inherent in many American myths: of idyllic suburban life, heroism, adolescent romance.”—Melissa Anderson, The Village Voice. “Hollywood makes movies for strange reasons. It never surprises me that films are made, but it’s surprising me that some films aren’t made while others are. But I did not feel that Blue Velvet was so strange—in fact, I always said it was my most normal film. It’s an American picture. It deals with human beings and human problems, and it’s the present day and there are cars in the picture.”—David Lynch.

Genres: Drama

Appears in: David Lynch: A Retrospective

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