Twin peaks fire walk with me 2

Coolidge Corner Theatre Brookline, MA


Seth Mnookin

Professor and Director of the Graduate Program in Science Writing, MIT

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me— Changing definitions of trauma

Science journalist Seth Mnookin uses David Lynch’s iconic film as a springboard to discuss changing definitions of trauma and the effect it has on people's lives. He explores how the film can be seen as both an illustration of the dissociative effects of trauma and how Laura Palmer is a character that challenges ideas of what "acceptable" responses to trauma are.

Coolidge Corner Theatre Brookline, MA

Film Synopsis

Laura Palmer's harrowing final days are chronicled one year after the murder of Teresa Banks, a resident of Twin Peaks' neighboring town.

    In the town of Twin Peaks, everybody has their secrets—but no one more than Laura Palmer.

    In this prequel to his groundbreaking 1990s television series, David Lynch resurrects the teenager found wrapped in plastic at the beginning of the show, following her through the last week of her life and teasing out the enigmas that surround her murder. Homecoming queen by day and drug-addicted thrill seeker by night, Laura leads a double life that pulls her deeper and deeper into horror as she pieces together the identity of the assailant who has been terrorizing her for years.

    Nightmarish in its vision of an innocent torn apart by unfathomable forces, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me is nevertheless one of Lynch’s most humane films, aching with compassion for its tortured heroine—a character as enthralling in life as she was in death. — Criterion Collection

    Photo credit: New Line Cinema

    About the Speaker

    Seth Mnookin is a Professor of Science Writing and the Director of the Graduate Program in Science Writing at MIT. His most recent book, The Panic Virus: The True Story Behind the Vaccine-Autism Controversy, won the National Association of Science Writers “Science in Society” Award and the New England chapter of the American Medical Writers Association’s Will Solimene Award for Excellence. He is also the author of the 2006 New York Times bestseller Feeding the Monster: How Money, Smarts, and Nerve Took a Team to the Top, which chronicles the challenges and triumphs of the John Henry-Tom Werner ownership group of the Boston Red Sox. His first book, 2004’s Hard News: The Scandals at The New York Times and Their Meaning for American Media, was a Washington Post Best Book of the Year.

    Since 2014, he’s been an elected board member of the National Association of Science Writers, and from 2004 to 2018, he was a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, where he wrote about the American media presence in Iraq, Bloomberg News, and Stephen Colbert.

    Seth’s essays and reporting have been featured in the anthologies about science, sports, and popular culture. His 2014 New Yorker piece on rare genetic diseases won the American Medical Writers Association prize for best story of the year and was included in the 2015 Best American Science and Nature Writing anthology. He has also written for numerous other publications, including New York, Wired, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Spin, Slate, and