From Mulholland Drive to Inception these films even stumped the stars of the movies
Some of the best films defy explanation -- with plots that both mystify and enthrall even the stars of the movies.
Despite having privileged access to those who concocted the narrative in the first place, some actors are occasionally still left baffled after wrapping on a project. Whether it's a plot shrouded in metaphors or an ending that's open to interpretation, these stars admit they didn’t quite understand the movies they helped create.
Here's what these stars had to say about their films…
Jennifer Lawrence admits that she didn't fully comprehend her movie Mother -- despite having a little bit of an inside source about the movie's plot. At the time she was dating the film's director, Darren Aronofsky, but she still only partially understood the film.
"I'm going to be honest. Well, I was sleeping with the director so I had CliffsNotes. So…five? Or a four. But if anybody needs any tips on understanding their films, you know what to do," Jennifer joked on an episode of Watch What Happens Live.
Jamie Lee Curtis didn't quite understand Everything Everywhere All at Once when she was filming the movie. While she says she did have a grasp on her character, it wasn't until she saw the entire movie that she fully comprehended what was going on.
"Well I didn't understand it at all, I understood her and that was my job -- they were asking me to be her. And so because I understood that, I said yes," Jamie Lee admitted on the Oscars red carpet.
She continued, "I didn't understand the movie until two things -- I saw the sequence at the laundromat being filmed where the husband and the wife reunified and the mother and the daughter reunified, and I went, 'Oh, this a movie about love.' And then I saw it at [SXSW] the first time on the screen and I thought, 'What a masterpiece, this is a movie that’s going to change cinema.'"
In 2019, Robert Pattinson starred in The Lighthouse alongside Willem Dafoe. In the film, the two men work as lighthouse keepers while living on a remote and mysterious island that eventually drives them to madness. In the final moments of the film, Robert's character finally sees the light -- but he admits he didn't really know what the ending meant and had to rely on director Robert Eggers' cues while filming the final scene.
"He said looking at the light was so pleasurable that it starts to become incredibly painful and then incredibly frightening afterward," he explained during a Q&A session.
4. Tom Berenger
Inception was a difficult film to fully grasp, even for some of its stars. Looking back, Tom Berenger says that after reading the script for the movie, which was about thieves who could mine dreams for secret information, he was left a bit confused.
"After I finished it, if anybody had interrogated me under torture to tell them what exactly the plot was, I'd be hard put," he told The Wall Street Journal.
Leonardo DiCaprio also had some questions about Inception after filming concluded. In the last moments of the movie, Leonardo's character appears to be successful in his final task and is reunited with his children. But in doing so, he walks away from the spinning top that lets him know if he’s dreaming or not -- leaving the ending up for interpretation.
"When it came to Chris Nolan and his mind, everyone was constantly trying to put that puzzle together," he said on WTF with Marc Maron, adding that the ending "depends on the eye of the beholder."
Colin Farrell starred in The Lobster in 2015, which took place in a society where single people were given just 45 days to find a romantic partner or they would be turned into an animal. The ending of the film leaves a lot up to interpretation and even Colin admits he couldn't explain what actually happened.
"I couldn't tell you. The writer and director can't tell even you -- and it's not because we're holding the answer close to our chests, but because there is no answer. In the film, there is no before; there is no after," he told Entertainment Weekly.
He continued, "That’s the thing about [director Yorgos Lanthimos]. He doesn't want to get into conversations with his actors about backstory and objective and intention. He casts people based on their work and he trusts that we'd all have an understanding of the tone that he was reaching for."
A large part of Mulholland Drive is left up to the viewer's interpretation, which star Laura Harring says makes things a bit complicated. Reflecting on the film, she says people are often left with more questions than answers since filmmaker David Lynch put it together "in such a mysterious way."
"You see the film and you picture all these meanings. What does the box mean? What about the cowboy? What happens? Who was killed? Was it Diane? Was it Camilla? Was it Rita? Was it Betty? Who was on that bed at the end? And, when you think about it, it could be any one of them; the film works with any character," she told The Independent.
As for her current interpretation of the film, Laura believes "part of it is a dream" but when it comes to whose dream it actually is, she has a "different theory" every time.
8. Alec Guinness
Alec Guinness may have taken on the iconic role of Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars franchise, but he didn't feel that his character made a lot of sense. In a letter to a friend, he lamented that he wasn't enjoying filming and didn't feel that the script made anything about his character clear.
"Can't say I'm enjoying the film -- new rubbish dialogue reaches me every other day on wages of pink paper -- and none of it makes my character clear or even bearable," he wrote.