The Motel Life (2013) – Emile Hirsch and Stephen Dorff as Brothers

the motel life

The Motel Life tells the story of two brothers who do whatever they can to get by in the world, even as forces beyond their control threaten to destroy everything they hold dear.

Frank Lee and his brother Jerry have lived as sorta nomads for a while. Jerry has some problems. He’s maybe a little messed up in the head, but not so bad that he gets help from anyone but Frank. Frank, on the other hand, could probably have a decent life, but he’s always taking care of Jerry’s messes. He has a girl, Annie, and they want to get away from their life in Reno, where they live in a crappy motel, but they struggle with that too.

One night Jerry gets drunk and drives home. He doesn’t see a kid run out in front of his car and he hits him. The kid dies, and they do what they can to cover up the death, destroying the car and hiding what evidence they can. And so they set off on a cross country expedition to Hawaii, coming across a number of characters along the way.

The Motel Life

The Motel Life comes from the directing team of Gabe Polsky and Alan Polsky. I like to think they’re brothers just like Jerry and Frank in the film. At the very least they should have a good idea of what brotherly love really looks like. Oh, and this is their first directing job. Hopefully good enough to not be their last.

The Motel Life is based on the novel by Willy Vlautin.


The Motel Life Trailer

The Motel Life Release Date


Who’s In It?

Emile Hirsch… Frank Lee
Dakota Fanning… Annie
Joshua Leonard
Stephen Dorff… Jerry Lee

What’s Good About It?

The Motel Life looks like it has a solid cast, and early reviews say the performances are exceptional. I’m excited enough for the film, but the quality of the cast gives me some additional hope.

What’s Bad About It?

Stephen Dorff is a talented guy who generally does a great job, but he picks a lot of duds. I don’t trust his ability to pick top flight films.

Our Clever Prediction

The Motel Life is very much so a smaller indie film, even with the quality of the cast. I expect it’ll make a little money, but unless it starts winning major awards it’ll likely be a low level film through and through.