What is Dylar Medication in the movie White Noise?

By Miguel Fernández
Published: January 5, 2023

What is Dylar Medication in the movie White Noise? We explore a specific plot point in the 2022 film and break it down. 

Noah Baumbach’s latest movie, White Noise, is now available to stream on Netflix. Starring Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig, it is an absurdist comedy that follows the two actors as a married couple raising four children. In addition to dealing with mundane issues like going to the grocery store or getting ready for an upcoming work event, they also face one of the fundamental human concerns, fear of death.

Baumbach’s script, adapted from Don DeLillo’s 1985 novel, carefully asks the viewer to pause our frenetic lives for two hours and think about the true philosophical questions. Are we ready to face death? How conscious are we of our own mortality? Driver’s Jack is a fascinating way to channel this theme by making him an expert in Hitler Studies in America — he dedicates his life to studying one of the biggest murderers in the history of the world. However, it is Gerwig’s Babette who is revealed to be even more concerned about her death.

Throughout the first half of the film, we see through Jack’s eyes that Babette is taking some medication, but he can’t figure out what it is. In the second half of the film, we learn that this is called Dylar, and Babette explains what it does exactly.

What is Dylar Medication in the movie White Noise?

The Dylar medication that Babette takes in the movie White Noise is an experimental drug meant to treat our fear of death. The pills have massive side effects and never got the in-universe final approval from the FDA, but Babette became addicted to them to the point that she started to exchange sex for a regular dose.

In one of the movie’s most surprising twists, Jack was barely shocked by his wife selling her body — it was even a logical step to try to shut down the noise in the back of his mind reminding him of his own mortality. This feeling was boosted by the so-called “airborne toxic event” caused by a train carrying enough gasoline to fill the Atlantic Ocean crashing into a giant truck transporting toxic waste.

Is the Dylar drug in White Noise real or fake?

The Dylar drug, as presented in the movie, is completely fictional, so it is fake. The process of testing drugs with humans before they get FDA approval is obviously real and, in fact, is standard procedure as we saw with the development of the COVID-19 vaccines. However, there is no record of medication ever being developed to specifically target our own fear of death. Instead, doctors will probably recommend any other anxiety treatments, which are very common.

How does the Dylar drug work?

From what we see in the movie, it’s likely that the drug is just another anti-anxiety pill. It’s unknown what exactly made it special and why it’s advertised as a treatment for the fear of death. Its numerous side effects in the movie include short-memory lapses, addiction, and a sense of numbness taking over the patient’s life.

It’s also worth noting the effects that the mere existence of the drug had on Driver’s character, causing a pacifist college professor to grab a gun and shoot an innocent man several times just so he could get the pills. White Noise is a fascinating psychological study of the human mind and, at its very core, a reminder that there are more important questions than our 21st-century concerns that we should start to figure out before our days in this world are over. And there’s also a train crashing into a giant truck for those looking for a visual spectacle.

What did you think of White Noise? Did this solve your questions about the Dylar drug? Let us know in the comments!

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