5.9/10
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26 user 45 critic

The Motel Life (2012)

Trailer
2:31 | Trailer
A pair of working-class brothers flee their Reno Motel after getting involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident.

Directors:

Alan Polsky, Gabe Polsky (as Gabriel Polsky)
3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Emile Hirsch ... Frank
Stephen Dorff ... Jerry Lee
Doc Divecchio ... Boss Man
Nancy Youngblut ... Mom
Jenica Bergere ... Polly Flynn
Dakota Fanning ... Annie James
Joshua Leonard ... Tommy
Garrett Backstrom ... Young Jerry Lee
Kris Kristofferson ... Earl Hurley
Noah Harpster ... Al Casey
Andrew Lee Andrew Lee ... Young Frank
Oren Skoog ... Barry Hurley
Hayes MacArthur ... Officer Cook
Scott MacArthur ... Officer Mori
Jim Gray Jim Gray ... Boxing Sportscaster
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Storyline

Two brothers who are forced to leave 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 set in the timeless Sierra Nevadan frontier. Written by Polsky Films

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They will do anything to find the truth


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content, language, some nudity, brief violent images, and drug references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The cast and crew of The Motel Life lived in a casino during the shoot. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Jerry Lee 16 years: Can you tell me a story, Frankie? Tell me something good. Make me the hero. Maybe I can get the girl.
Frank - 14: I got one. A long time ago, you and me were fighter pilots in the war. The Flannigan brothers. We were famous. One morning we were heading over to Germany when we got ambushed. You and me versus 20 German fighters. It was a mess. Real dog fight. It was touch-and-go, but we were winning until a Nazi came out of the fog and started firing away at you. Luckily I came down and blew the ...
See more »

Connections

Features Bonanza: Dark Star (1960) See more »

Soundtracks

250 Miles
Written by Parker Griggs
Performed by Radio Moscow
Courtesy of Alive Naturalsound Records
See more »

User Reviews

 
A "Midnight Cowboy" for the 21st Century
20 October 2013 | by steven-leibsonSee all my reviews

Movies like this only come around every half century or so. The last time, the name of the movie was "Midnight Cowboy." This time, it's "The Motel Life," which is based on a cult debut novel by Willy Vlautin published in 2006. It's the story of two close-knit brothers, bonded together by the untimely death of their mother when they're in their early teens. Since then, these brothers have been inseparable, living rough on society's fringes due to no fault of their own. When the movie opens, the brothers are living in their hometown of Reno, Nevada in the cheap-motel miasma on the "other" side of town. Although one's a gifted artist and the other is an accomplished storyteller, they live at the bottom of the economic pile with nothing but odd jobs for support.

The two brothers, Frank and Jerry Lee Flannigan, are played by Emile Hirsch and Stephen Dorff respectively with about as much emotional depth and raw credibility as you're likely to ever see portrayed on screen. The supporting cast includes Kris Kristofferson—in a truly moving performance—and Dakota Fanning who also gives a terrific accounting of her character. The inspired animation of Mike Smith adds substantially to the movie as well, cleanly delineating the "real" world from Frank's fantasies.

Like "Midnight Cowboy," this film deals with many dark, adult themes. "Midnight Cowboy" was made in 1969. It was highly controversial back then but it's now listed as #36 on the American Film Institute's Top 100 Greatest Movies of all time. If you're squeamish or prudish about what you see on screen, this might not be your film, but if you can stand to look at a portion of society that you likely don't see often or ever, you will be rewarded by the tremendous performances in this film.

You're going to have to work a bit harder than usual to find this movie when it opens on November 8. It will open in only 20 markets. But it will be worth the quest. We saw it early as part of the ongoing efforts of Tim Sika and the San Jose Camera Cinema Club. After the showing, the audience talked with Stephen Dorff via Skype for 45 minutes. Dorff shared a lot of background that greatly enhanced the experience. Thanks Tim.


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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 November 2013 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Vida em Motéis See more »

Filming Locations:

Virginia City, Nevada, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Polsky Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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