Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me ★★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

your laura’s disappeared… it’s just me now. 

for a long time i have considered fire walk with me to be my favourite instalment of the twin peaks series (although they are all so vastly different it’s hard to really say). the show twin peaks presents us with the romanticized, idealized town from the perspective of the most wholesome character in cinematic history, special agent dale cooper. with fire walk with me, we see everything through the perspective of laura palmer, a girl who is being molested by her own father, and is privy to the secret evil that looms within twin peaks: we see a version of the town that is devoid of the goodness cooper was so fixated on in the original show. of course, the return provides us even more information regarding the backstory, but for the purpose of this review i am only discussing the film itself.

with the show, we all hear accounts of laura palmer prior to her death, and lynch does not shy away from showing the darkness that was surrounding her in her life. fire walk with me does not show us anything about laura that we did not pick up on while watching the show (although this is debatably not true following the return). however, it does not shy away from the pain and trauma that went behind all of her actions. she sobs quietly alone before going into the pink room. she does the meals on wheels and confronts her emotions with the help of harold. she used cocaine before bed so that she could catch bob (thanks nolan for that tidbit). she was crying out for help in ways that no one in twin peaks can recognize, and it was prevalent in all of her actions. she knew what was happening to her, and what was trying to be done to her, which is the saddest part about it. sheryl lee’s performance is absolutely insane, but the scene where she sees leland walking out of the house after bob is just devastating. 

the performances in this are absolutely amazing and certainly thought provoking. seeing leland operate in the film, that so obviously follows laura’s perspective, provides a more devastating realization that he was aware of the abuses bob put laura through. maybe laura knew this once she realized it was leland, and maybe this is something innocent cooper could not pick up on in the show because he wants so badly to focus on the good of the town and the people in it. laura does not give us this luxury, she sees people for exactly what they are, but especially the evil that the town is trying to shy away from. this is why we see bobby kill a man- yes, he is an amazing character that i believe has a worthy redemption, but laura won’t let us ignore the wrongdoings he, or anyone else did. this is also why i believe the donna in this film is so perfect. she’s so innocent, and it’s uncomfortable to see her in the pink room trying to become aligned with laura. the other donna is perfect for the show- after laura’s death she’s stronger, more risky, and adopts some of laura’s qualities. this donna cannot exist in the same world as laura, who sees donna as a pure beacon of hope in her life, and who is ultimately not plagued with the horrors laura was experiencing. 

one major theme explored during the entirety of twin peaks is the exploration of trauma, and obviously, abuse. cooper warns laura in a dream not to wear the ring, because if she puts on the ring she will die, and cooper is trying so hard to save her from death. but what is he saving her from? had laura not died that night, she would continue to suffer in the way no one listened to or cared about- it wasn’t until her death that people began to worry about what was happening to her in life. without her death, laura would continue to be abused by her father, abuse drugs, etc. her death was her saving grace. i strongly believe that in the train cart, we saw laura’s angel, but laura knew in her heart she wanted to die. since she is such a good friend- as shown in the pink room- she wanted to save her friend instead of herself, knowing that her friend “deserves” to live her life more than laura does. and finally, once she’s dead, she’s greeted in the black lodge by dale cooper and her guardian angel from the painting. two figures who are here to do anything to protect her. laura then realizes, despite being in the black lodge, that she is finally safe and free, leading to her bittersweet tears and laughter. james mentioned in the tv show that laura used to say she had a darkness in her. the ending scene shows us how her darkness is absolved, and in death she is now safe. this is certainly a hard film to watch, but i believe the ending shines a hopeful light on laura palmer. everything happens for a reason.

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