88

RogerEbert.com

By 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.
Full Review
83

The Playlist

By Jessica Kiang
While it doesn't reinvent the wheel, or revolutionize the genre, it achieves its modest ambitions affectingly well, in no small part due to a clutch of cherishable performances, especially from leads Emile Hirsch and Stephen Dorff.
Full Review
80

Empire

By David Hughes
Powerful, moving and melancholy. A low-key treat.
Full Review
75

Miami Herald

By Rene Rodriguez
Unlike most pictures about people living on the fringe, The Motel Life is never drab or depressing.
Full Review
75

Rolling Stone

By Peter Travers
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.
Full Review
75

Portland Oregonian

Hirsch gives a finely tuned performance, almost absent of technique or self-consciousness, which dovetails nicely with Dorff's more expressive, method approach.
Full Review
75

Chicago Sun-Times

By Bill Zwecker
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.
Full Review
70

The Hollywood Reporter

By Deborah Young
The central performances by Emile Hirsch and Stephen Dorff hold the film together with the intensity of their brotherly affection and support.
Full Review
70

Arizona Republic

By Kerry Lengel
The false notes are outnumbered by those that ring achingly true.
Full Review
40

Village Voice

By Zachary Wigon
The Motel Life too often revisits the same emotions and sentiments, leaving us with a portrait that feels frustratingly simple.
Full Review
61 out of 100
Generally favorable reviews
Metascore® based on all critic reviews. Scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.