For Reel

The Motel Life (2012)
November 16, 2013, 5:48 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , ,

Director(s): Alan & Gabe Polsky
3.5 Stars
The Motel LifeJust before she passed away, the mother of Frank (Emile Hirsch) and Jerry Lee (Stephen Dorff) Flannigan asked that her two boys promise that, no matter what happens, they will always stick together. Such is the context for this uncommonly intimate sibling drama, bolstered by the chemistry and fearlessness of its stars. Dorff, in particular, is touching as the ne’er-do-well–without him, one gets the sense that Frank might have gotten a little bit further in life. This is made quite literal when it is revealed that the boys tried to hop a train when they were kids, but Jerry Lee ended up losing a leg in the attempt. As impulsive and irresponsible as he can be, however, Dorff lends Jerry Lee a tremendous sensitivity to match his naivete. Although there are some narrative elements that don’t quite come together–a subplot involving Frank’s ex-girlfriend (Dakota Fanning) is unconvincing–the relationship between the two brothers is genuinely affecting.