The Motel Life - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Motel Life Reviews

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½ December 24, 2016
The story of two orphan and strongly bonded brothers.

I have been set eye on this for some time, but only now I been able to see it. It was not as good as I expected, but an okay film. The story of two brothers who were orphaned at very young age and since then they have never been parted as they promised to their mother. Now grown up to adult, one of them commits an accident and decides to run away with it. When the law makes the progress on the case that leads to them, what's now and how they fight it was focused in the rest.

Very ordinary screenplay. Feels like a bit realistic, but there's nothing much happening at all. Thanks to those additional animations which actually lifted the film a bit. I loved those sequences over the real film. So this for the first directional film for the Polsky brothers and they were okay. I liked the cast of the brothers. apart from them there's no one that impressive. The romance was very weak, though only the ending was high.

I don't know the novel, it was based on, but the film lacked some good scenes or the events. Not just one or two, but in many parts the film should have been better. They should have altered the storyline from the original source. Especially the fate of amputated brother was too intentional as story wanted to end other way around. It was all the sudden and ruined the rhythm. The film is not good for everyone's viewing, so I suggest you be a careful if you want to try it.

Super Reviewer
½ September 13, 2016
The dark indie drama The Motel Life is a macabre tale that's pointless and depressing. Based on a novel, two brothers, Frank and Jerry Lee Flannigan, are a couple of lowlifes living out of motels and cars who go on the run after killing a kid in a hit-and-run. The film has strong themes of living in regret and brotherly love, but the characters are unsympathetic degenerates. Starring Emile Hirsch, Stephen Dorff, and Dakota Fanning, the cast is pretty decent; however their performances are bland and uninspired. The directing is also an issue and is rather static; aside from randomly inserted animated sequences whenever Frank tells his brother a story. The Model Life is a largely forgettable film that doesn't really have anything to say.
½ August 26, 2016
Well made, but flat.
½ May 5, 2016
Kind of Wristcutters-ey.
½ October 22, 2015
Talented cast for sure. Great graphics for sure. The story, less sure. I see it as a modern remake of Of mice and men with more reallistic characters. It is infinitely better than the original but it is still too similar. Dakota looks very much the part of a low life in this. Quite amazing.
½ October 22, 2015
Talented cast for sure. Great graphics for sure. The story, less sure. I see it as a modern remake of Of mice and men with more reallistic characters. It is infinitely better than the original but it is still too similar. Dakota looks very much the part of a low life in this. Quite amazing.
October 15, 2015
no characters to like here & frankly a waste of some good acting talent
½ July 28, 2015
Started off a reasonable film and fell a bit flat halfway through. Still reasonably enjoyable.
½ March 24, 2015
Honest film with good photography.
March 17, 2015
superb adaptation to the book!
½ February 22, 2015
Longest hour and a half of my life. I could not tell you a single thing worth remembering about this. Avoid at all costs!
January 18, 2015
I would recommend this movie to anyone who likes Emile Hirsch and/or Stephen Dorff, both of who offer great performances in this movie. Emile Hirsch is always good in my book, but Stephen Dorff has a tendency to get typecast in pretty boy roles so it's especially nice to see him shine in this. If you have a heart for folks who have been beat up and tossed around by life, but manage to transcend their circumstances, this one is for you. The film's use of illustrations and story-telling to convey the relationship between the brother's adds a unique element. This film was much better than I expected it to be.
½ January 4, 2015
A tragic story, brilliantly executed...
December 7, 2014
Any film with Kris Kristofferson in and has Dylan and Johnny Cash singing girl from the north country fair gets a massive thumbs up from me
November 10, 2014
I like this movie. I was able to relate the everyday pitfall of life and how we never really know how great things are until some dark unforseen even happens and turns everything upside down.
September 25, 2014
One of the best movies I've ever seen
September 8, 2014
The rambling plot may resemble a lyric from a mawkish country song but the film-makers bring an engaging mix of tenderness and grit to the downbeat material.
September 6, 2014
From an acting, filming and creative storytelling pov it's a four or five but a couple of things moved it down the charts for me. o subtitles and for a film which is storytelling dependent that is a no-no. Not only difficult for any hard of hearing, etc. but the enunciations and unique dialogue were difficult to follow anyway. Second, the pacing and over redundancy of the main theme made watching really slooow. Perhaps intended to embellish the cold desolate mood which the director also provided with other filming techniques but it turned out to be too much. Like having the same meal repeatedly, it loses it's taste eventually. brothers played by Emile Hirsch and Stephen Dorf, have a strong bond that keeps the movie going.The directors use of animated cartoon stories to illustrate Hirsch's and Dorf's bond is very unique and fun to watch. The animated illustrations help show the character's personalities in a different way then most movies. Hirsch's interactions with his gambling friends also help to give him more depth turning him into a great protagonist for the movie. Overall this movie was very enjoyable and I would highly recommend it.
September 5, 2014
As God is my witness, after watching this film you will come to your knees and thank the Almighty for your wonderful life! If people in America live under these circumstances (and sadly I have read many stories of folks that do), then I do understand why they might contemplate suicide although usually that is not the answer. We have two poor brothers named Frank (Emile Hirsch) and Jerry Lee (Stephen Dorff) who used to work odd jobs, drank heavily and lived by drifting from motel to motel. When Jerry Lee kills a kid by accident on a hit-and-run, the brothers decide to take off and visit Frank's ex-girlfriend Annie (D. Fanning). The film's animation was great and Ben Sachs from the Chicago Reader said it best: "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." It is a depressing film okay, and you will see characters that most of us don't even deal with in our lives. Available on Netflix instant streaming in HD. Recommended!
September 4, 2014
Slow moving indie film about bad luck, turning a new leaf, running away, or running back. Winding and a bit disorganized, but has feels.
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