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The Motel Life

HD   Unrated Closed Captioning

Alan Polsky & Gabe Polsky

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About the Movie

This award-winning festival hit stars Emile Hirsch ("Into the Wild") and Stephen Dorff ("Somewhere") as two brothers who are forced to flee Reno after being involved in a hit-and-run accident. Based on the novel by Willy Vlautin, this moody thriller is a searing and profound examination of brotherhood and the power of storytelling set in the timeless Sierra Nevadan frontier. Features supporting performances by Dakota Fanning ("The Twilight Saga") and Kris Kristofferson ("Lone Star"). A Polsky Films Presentation.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 38
  • Fresh: 27
  • Rotten: 11
  • Average Rating: 6.2/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: The story may be slight, but the performances and ambience resonate. – Andy Webster, New York Times, Nov 7, 2013

Fresh: 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, Nov 7, 2013

Fresh: 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, Nov 13, 2013

Rotten: 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, Nov 5, 2013

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Great movie

Amazing performances. Amazing animation. A very special film.


This movie is a master-class in acting. From Hirsch's subtle honesty to Dorff's emotional pathos to Kristofferson's unmatched wisdom, every character is portrayed beautifully. It's a simple story with a big heart, and the performances make it a MUST WATCH.

The Motel Life

Great-looking film, great cast. Emile Hirsch and Stephen Dorff have strong chemistry and Kristofferson was a total surprise. I'm glad I came. Totally worth it.

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The Motel Life
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  • $12.99
  • Genre: Drama
  • Released: 2013

Customer Ratings