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Based on 19 Reviews
critic reviews (10)
fan reviews ( )
  • 75
    Peter Travers Rolling Stone

    Hirsch opens his heart to the role. And Dorff, matching the depth of feeling he showed in Sofia Coppola's "Somewhere," excels at digging deep into Jerry Lee's pain. show more

  • 25
    Mick LaSalle San Francisco Chronicle

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

  • 50
    Joe Morgenstern Wall Street Journal

    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. show more

  • 60
    New York Daily News

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

  • 70
    Deborah Young The Hollywood Reporter

    The central performances by Emile Hirsch and Stephen Dorff hold the film together with the intensity of their brotherly affection and support. show more

  • 88
    Sheila O'Malley

    The directors and the cast, through a miracle of tone, mood, and emotion, have made a film that feels true, that is sweet and sharp and unbearable. Every frame feels right, every choice feels thought-out, considered. All adds up to a heartbreaking whole. show more

  • 75
    Bill Zwecker Chicago Sun-Times

    This well-crafted picture is a lovely work of true art, enhanced by terrific animated sequences illustrating Jerry Lee’s love of drawing cartoons and Frank’s ability to concoct tales of the brothers as heroic figures. show more

  • 75
    Rene Rodriguez Miami Herald

    Unlike most pictures about people living on the fringe, The Motel Life is never drab or depressing. show more

  • 50
    Sara Stewart New York Post

    Not surprisingly in this tale of desperate men, the only women are top-heavy cartoon characters — literally, animated sequences illustrate Frank’s stories — or live-action betrayers, like Dakota Fanning’s Annie, Frank’s ex-girlfriend. I found the cartoons more interesting. show more

  • 80
    David Hughes Empire

    Powerful, moving and melancholy. A low-key treat. show more

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