The Motel Life - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Motel Life Reviews

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November 5, 2013
Recalling characters from a Bukowski novel or Tom Waits song but with less complexity, the brothers are endowed by their creators with little agency, not doing much except lamenting the sorry state of their lives.
November 5, 2013
The sparse poeticism of Portland author Willy Vlautin's debut novel, a sullen depiction of blue-collar American life, is gutted for this overdone film adaptation by directors Alan and Gabriel Polsy.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
November 13, 2013
More of an actors' showcase for Stephen Dorff and Emile Hirsch to get in some sharp practice than a cogent drama, "The Motel Life" is a warts-and-all indie effort that comes up short.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
November 8, 2013
Hirsch and Dorff give it their all - as does the always-welcome Kris Kristofferson, as a boss and father figure to Frank - but they can't make up for the screenplay's shortcomings.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
November 7, 2013
Fits snugly into the moody nook that film festivals save for forgettable downers with recognizable faces.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
November 8, 2013
As good as "The Motel Life" is for the actors, that's how bad it is for the viewer.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
November 17, 2013
Love and loyalty often carry the day. But love and loyalty are not carrying the day now.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/10
May 30, 2014
A pedestrian, undeveloped indie clunker, its failure as a complete, satisfying story especially disappointing since the sibling relationship at its center could have been special with a better script.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
November 22, 2013
As the protagonists wallow in melancholy and despair, they drag helpless moviegoers in with them.
April 4, 2014
The whole thing is deep-down conservative and wetter than a Labrador's kiss.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
April 3, 2014
The film is heavy-going, unformed and self-indulgent, with characters who are neither sympathetic nor (crucially) interesting.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
April 16, 2014
Watching The Motel Life, I felt that I was in the hands of someone capable of making a great film.
November 6, 2013
The Motel Life is a contemplative, meaningful story about brotherly devotion and redemption, and it's one of the year's great surprises.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
November 7, 2013
The Motel Life fulfills its modest ambitions, mining glimmers of muted beauty from these brothers' otherwise bleak existences.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
November 7, 2013
...the simple fact is that it won us over with its refreshing quiet confidence in itself and the kind of film it wants to be - it's an assured debut by directors smart enough to make sure their reach never exceeds their grasp.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
November 8, 2013
Every frame feels right, every choice feels thought-out, considered. All adds up to a heartbreaking whole.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
November 4, 2013
"The Motel Life" doesn't so much end as it instead sits and takes a breath. Yet, it's hard to imagine any other conclusion that wouldn't have ruined it.
Full Review | Original Score: B
April 10, 2014
There's definitely a niche audience out there that will love The Motel Life; and this is a film that deserves to be loved.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
April 3, 2014
Stephen Dorff excels as a luckless hobo in this bruised and booze-soaked adaptation of Willy Vlautin's 2007 novel.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
November 8, 2013
This independent drama effectively captures the spirit of much contemporary fiction: the tone is at once precious and stark, and the narrative drifts from one episode to another (and from realism to fantasy) as though it were playing out in a dream.
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