Blue Velvet (1986)

10 Overall Score
Story: 10/10
Acting: 10/10
Visuals: 10/10

Truly unique experience

Not for everyone

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Blue Velvet

Studio:  De Laurentiis Entertainment Group

Genre(s):  Drama/Romance/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  September 12, 1986 (Toronto)/September 19, 1986 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R


I like to sing “Blue Velvet”

Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan) has returned home to Lumberton after his father’s heart attack.  Discovering an ear on a walk, Jeffrey finds himself pulled into a web of mystery.  While Lumberton’s sunny side appears to be the perfect slice of Americana, something is rotting under the surface.  Aided by the police inspector’s daughter Sandy (Laura Dern), Jeffrey becomes embroiled in the world of a lounge singer named Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini) and her psychotic lover Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper)…and he might not be able to get out.


So Sandy…how are you about monogamy?

Directed by David Lynch, Blue Velvet is Lynch’s follow-up to his critically panned big-budget adaptation of Dune (1984).  The movie received mixed reviews from critics (Roger Ebert gave it one star) but earned a Best Director Oscar nomination for Lynch.  Since its release, Blue Velvet has come to be considered one of the best films of the ’80s and frequently is listed among “best of” lists for mysteries or thrillers.  The Criterion Collection released a remastered version of the film (Criterion #977)

I saw Blue Velvet pretty early on…way too early for me to appreciate it.  The first time I can remember seeing it, the movie was a WTF type of movie (before that term was even around).  The strange blending of genres, the stylized acting, and the visuals all blend together to make a bizarre (but great) film…but it isn’t even my favorite film of Lynch.


It’s the candy colored clown they call “The Sandman”!

The story is a genre blend.  It has elements of romance, mystery, suspense, and even some horror (in a Hitchcockian sense)…plus you even get some great musical moments.  It is this weird blend that makes the storytelling of the movie truly unique.  You won’t have many experiences like Blue Velvet.

The cast is also interesting.  Kyle MacLachlan has the difficulty of floating between the two world…the rose colored world of his family and Sandy and the dark world of Frank.  Laura Dern plays the perfect girlfriend in Sandy who can forgive while Isabella Rossellini is great as the damaged Dorothy Vallens.  Dennis Hopper plays the other standout as the psychotic Frank Booth with all the gusto you’d expect from Hopper in a role that feels like it set him loose.


“I’ll f*@! anything that moves!”

The movie is also loaded with great visuals.  Lynch plays with colors and lighting and creates the two worlds of the film that sometimes blend and mix (along with the soundtrack).  The film is a weird time warp movie that makes it seem like it is set in the ’50s, but is set in present day by other indications.  The look and feel of the movie sticks with you.

Blue Velvet is a movie that won’t sit with everyone, but it should be tried…more than once.  It is a film that can grow on you and is benefited in a way by knowing where the story is going.  Lynch has a truly unique style and flavor to his movies and each is an experience (even the weak ones).  Lynch followed Blue Velvet with Wild at Heart and his television series Twin Peaks in 1990.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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