Holy Motors

2012

Holy Motors

Critics Consensus

Mesmerizingly strange and willfully perverse, Holy Motors offers an unforgettable visual feast alongside a spellbinding -- albeit unapologetically challenging -- narrative.

91%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 148

71%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 12,346
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Movie Info

From dawn to dusk, a few hours in the life of Monsieur Oscar, a shadowy character who journeys from one life to the next. He is, in turn, captain of industry, assassin, beggar, monster, family man... He seems to be playing roles, plunging headlong into each part - but where are the cameras? Monsieur Oscar is alone, accompanied only by Céline, the slender blonde woman behind the wheel of the vast engine that transports him through and around Paris. He's like a conscientious assassin moving from hit to hit. In pursuit of the beautiful gesture, the mysterious driving force, the women and the ghosts of past lives. But where is his true home, his family, his rest? -- (C) Official Site

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Critic Reviews for Holy Motors

All Critics (148) | Top Critics (39)

Audience Reviews for Holy Motors

  • Apr 12, 2014
    A film that, needless to say, has a number of correct subjective interpretations directly proportional to the amount of viewers that saw it with a high attention span and an open mind, in my humble opinion, can be more easily dissected if: <b>I. It is seen passively.</b> <i>"I'd rather people feel a film before understanding it."</i> - Robert Bresson <i>"We think too much and feel too little."</i> - Charles Chaplin. Some things do not have to make sense. The mind can reast peacefully at night if it was not capable of rationalizing all stimula in one day, even if it seems impossible to several people. Some things just deserve to be felt. <b>II. The "appointments" topic is taken as the core subject.</b> Beyond the multiple references to existentialist/horror science fiction films of the 70s like <i>The Man Who Fell to Earth</i> (1976) and what is almost a personal homage to classic poetic horror director Georges Franju, the main message communicated is our performance in our differing human relationships. An appointment involves an "obligation", a self-applied compromise that one looks forward to fulfill. It is a fact that all of us have, at least more than once, mutated our personality traits or attitude when being in front of different people. We become another person. We never stop being "we", but be forget who "we" really are, who "we" really is, what "we" really is(are?), and, at the end, we become actors of our improvised existence. Little by little, we lose ourselves, and it takes time to rediscover ourselves. It's true that the array of human interactions also construct a unique version of our being, but one thing is to complement yourself with the existence of others, and another one is to become a puppet of others. These are the two extreme points in the line. There are middle tones, and the only thing we can control is that tone. Why? Personal choice. Period. We allow it. <b>III. What drives us is "the beauty of the act", but "the beauty lies in the eye of the beholder".</b> And this is the point where Carax applies his meta-film concept. The film opens reminding us our current position, but the film's message hasn't even been stated. That is why the opening of the film is the only disconnected part from the rest of the subsequent episodic structure. Even the protagonist "opens the door" to the other reality, our "reality", and is reminded of the fact that everything is just a film. Maybe our life is a film too, observed by thousands of spectators, simply because we decide to act. We act. A lot. Why? Also because of personal choice. Period. <b>IV. If you see the "Holy Motors" place from a metaphysical POV.</b> In that way, actress Edith Scob becomes much more than a reference to her other character in the 1960 masterpiece of the importance of human identity. Every limousine driver becomes the passenger's conscience... or God's omniscient will... or angels working for God (to whom Edith Scob possible talks to at the end through her cellphone)... The point is, you decide. What is it that drives you to every single human "appointment" of yours everyday, making you go weary? Are you too tired to do your acting job already? Or do you still act because beauty lies in the eyes of the beholders of your life? Compared incorrectly to Jodorowsky (that comparison can only be applied to a visual level, which is merely superficial), <i>Holy Metaphysycal Blow-Your-Mind-With-Allegorical-Drugs Motors</i> compells us to either watch a film like Cocteau demanded cinema to be seen (as poetry with no possibility of complete rationalization) or to feel frustrated. Some pacing issues are present here and there, and the distribution of the intensity of the acts throughout Oscar's whole day feels awkwardly distributed by Carax, dragging the emotions sometimes and constructing cacophonies a little bit too forced to be belived as being part of a whole product, but cinema today is in serious need of a revival of an alternate branch of experimentation. There are several people, including me, that are grateful for valiant projects like this. 84/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Feb 17, 2014
    This film is very weird, and I am with the majority in thinking this. The film follows a man as he runs around town in a limousine with his faithful driver, put into different scenes that make no sense when put together, and then goes home. The first scene includes a motion capture simulated sex scene, followed by a blind hooligan kidnapping a model, and an accordion march through a church. There's many more scenes like this, and no, it doesn't make sense altogether. Even the ending doesn't make any sense, and it's the main resolution. The main thing to think about when watching this film is the beauty, the eccentricities in every scene, the amazing music, mood, cinematography. It's just an amazing feat of filmmaking and that is something I am with the majority as well. It's a bit slow and quiet at times, but it's something worth sticking with. Besides that, the performance Denis Lavant is spectacular, queer, awesome, and intriguing, all at once.
    Spencer S Super Reviewer
  • Jul 11, 2013
    'Holy Motors' (2012) is a French experimental film set with various plot theories: Denis Lavant's role is either an actor playing different characters in different situations, an actor playing different film characters and jumping from genre to genre of film, or an actor temporarily replacing the lives of different people for some significant reason of morality. Frankly, those were my guesses while witnessing this film, which in many cases may be wrong. And this is one of the major flaws yet major achievements of 'Holy Motors' (2012): while it's madly creative, outright absurd, or deliberately drawn out, there is never a point where the director and writer Leos Carax illuminates what is really going on. It will be a great mystery to some; it will be a load of pretentious arthouse garbage to others. Nevertheless, 'Holy Motors' (2012) is a challenging movie to watch and way beyond any experimental film I have ever seen. Whether I would recommend it or not, it is a film that will really test your opinions on all of cinema!
    Noah N Super Reviewer
  • Jun 13, 2013
    The parallels it creates with the "roles" we adopt every day with the work of an actor is fantastic, as is the way it portrays modern technology and it's hollowness applied to the art of modern filmmaking and it's recent lack of ideas. Still, Holy Motors ends up being quite a drag at times, with each segment taking way too long to develop itself. And it usually develops unto obvious pretentious avant-garde territory where it's just too hard to draw any descernible conclusions out of it. It's a shame that these moments happen, because for the most part, Leos Carax manages to say what he means with visual bravado, originality, humor and just plain weirdness, without being too much in your face, aided by a great, multifaceted lead protagonist. It's all a staged show. When moments that don't seem to be "acted" show up, you think you're having a glimpse at the true character of Oscar (awesome name choice, don't think it's arbitrary), it's still a staged event to something funny/weird coming up. Fortunently, the movie has a sense of humor and it's good to see it doesn't take itself too serious. Holy Motors is worth admiring for not just being a visual treat but for also having something poignant to say, even amidst all the strange avant-garde set ups. It just doesn't have that extra emotional depth and connection to the viewer, to truly elevate it to higher marks like say, Mulholland Drive or The Holy Mountain.
    Francisco G Super Reviewer

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