The Motel Life
The Motel Life (2013)

Based on the popular novel by Willy Vlautin, THE MOTEL LIFE is a searing and profound examination of brotherhood set in the timeless Sierra Nevadan frontier. Frank (Emile Hirsch) and Jerry Lee Flannigan (Stephen Dorff) work odd jobs, drink… More

Rated: R
Running Time:
Release Date: November 8, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 3, 2014
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Critic Score: 71% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: The Motel Life transcends its frustratingly uneven screenplay with some outstanding work from a talented cast.

Deborah Young
Hollywood Reporter

Sensitive lensing and acting render an unusual story of brotherly love touching in a promising first film.

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Ben Sachs
Chicago Reader

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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Dustin Putman

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.

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Sheri Linden
Los Angeles Times

Alan Polsky and Gabriel Polsky propel the material in a way that can feel over-determined. But they grasp the eccentricities and desperation of fringe dwellers, and at its strongest their atmospheric film has the pull of a sad outlaw song.

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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle

As good as "The Motel Life" is for the actors, that's how bad it is for the viewer.

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Noah Gittell
Movie Mezzanine

Watching The Motel Life, I felt that I was in the hands of someone capable of making a great film.

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Bill Zwecker
Chicago Sun-Times

We have seen many films about losers on the run, but in the directorial debut of former Chicago siblings Alan and Gabe Polsky, we get an intriguing new take on brotherly love not only gone wrong, but clearly hopeless from the beginning.

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Kerry Lengel
Arizona Republic

It's occasionally pretentious but ultimately moving, at least for the miniscule audience that will turn out to see such a downer of a movie.

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Jon Lyus

There's definitely a niche audience out there that will love The Motel Life; and this is a film that deserves to be loved.

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More reviews for The Motel Life

Flixster Audience Score: 43% Flixster User Reviews
Dann Michalski
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… More
Panta Oz
Wow... what an unusual mystery thriller drama this was! I am not sure if I am going to remember it because of the acting of Emile Hirsch, Stephen Dorff, Dakota… More