The Motel Life Reviews

  • The story may be slight, but the performances and ambience resonate.

    Andy Webster — New York Times

  • For all its melancholy and grey, snowy landscape, "The Motel Life" never feels totally hopeless ...

    Stephanie Merry — Washington Post

  • 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.

    Zachary Wigon — Village Voice

  • While this gritty indie is light on plot, the world of bars, casinos, hospitals and gallows humor is real and heartbreaking.

    Jordan Hoffman — New York Daily News

  • It's admirable and even memorable, in its moody fashion, thanks to Roman Vasyanov's richly textured cinematography-he's a shooter to keep our eyes on-and three affecting performances.

    Joe Morgenstern — Wall Street Journal

  • 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.

    Bill Zwecker — Chicago Sun-Times

  • 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.

    Ben Sachs — Chicago Reader

  • 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.

    Kerry Lengel — Arizona Republic

  • 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.

    Sara Stewart — New York Post

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

    Deborah Young — Hollywood Reporter

  • The Polskys are painting a portrait of life on the margins [in The Motel Life], of broken people redeemed at least partially by art.

    Peter Travers — Rolling Stone

  • 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.

    Sheri Linden — Los Angeles Times

  • 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.

    Dustin Putman

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

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

    Jon Lyus — HeyUGuys

  • The whole thing is deep-down conservative and wetter than a Labrador's kiss.

    Charlotte O'Sullivan — This is London

  • 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.

    Geoffrey Macnab — Independent

  • The film is heavy-going, unformed and self-indulgent, with characters who are neither sympathetic nor (crucially) interesting.

    Peter Bradshaw

  • Stephen Dorff excels as a luckless hobo in this bruised and booze-soaked adaptation of Willy Vlautin's 2007 novel.

    Sophie Monks Kaufman — Little White Lies

  • Fans of indie cinema's mood-movie fringes, check in.

    Kevin Harley — Total Film

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