Watch It

On DVD: Now | On Blu-ray: Now

Holy Motors Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Accordion Jam 2012 starts here. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 5.0

    out of 100

    Universal acclaim
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    An exhilarating puzzle, one of the grand cinematic eruptions of the year.

    Read Full Review

  • 80

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter

    Exhilarating, opaque, heartbreaking and completely bonkers – French auteur Leos Carax's so-called comeback film, Holy Motors, is a deliciously preposterous piece of filmmaking that appraises life and death and everything in between, reflected in a funhouse mirror.

    Read Full Review

  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Here is a film that is exasperating, frustrating, anarchic and in a constant state of renewal. It's not tame. Some audience members are going to grow very restless. My notion is, few will be bored.

    Read Full Review

  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

    Lavant is splendid in the film, and he's essentially the entire film - and yet, Holy Motors is somewhat more than a contraption built for a fearless performer.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Holy Motors reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

not for kids

French drama is mature and strange, but also sad and lovely.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Holy Motors is a very strange yet poetic, sad, lovely -- and mature -- movie from highly respected French director Leos Carax. Violence ranges from unsettling dream/nightmare imagery and discussions of death to killings, spurting blood, and dead bodies. There's also graphic male full-frontal nudity (including an erect penis) and other strong sexuality. Language is mild but includes two uses of the French "merde," which the English subtitles translate as "s--t." The main character also smokes several cigarettes and gets drunk on whisky. Holy Motors is bizarre enough that only the most movie-crazy teens will even be interested in seeing it.

  • Families can talk about Holy Motors' sexuality. How is sex portrayed? Are any of the scenes disturbing? Why? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
  • What's the impact of the film's violence? How does it contribute to the story?
  • Do you think a movie like this would ever (or could ever) be made in the United States? Why or why not? How does it compare to other foreign films you've seen?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: It's tough to know what Holy Motors is actually saying, but one possible theme is the sad, lonely lives of performers, giving up their own identities and taking on others' on cue. Characters don't seem to learn much, except that we see them growing weary of such a life.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: The main character is a highly skilled actor and performer who takes on several different characters and occupies them completely. This level of skill is admirable and inspirational, but the character himself is rather sad and lonely and growing weary of his existence.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: The main character plays a creepy monster in one sequence, with a milky-white eye and a crazy walk. He bites off a woman's fingers, with blood. Later, he kidnaps a model, licks her armpit, and smears blood from his lips there. Characters are stabbed in the neck, with streams of spurting blood. A man is shot at a sidewalk cafe, with more blood. Two figures are shown splattered on the sidewalk, having jumped from the top of a building. Characters die, and there are conversations about death. There's also some strange, unsettling, and potentially scary dream/nightmare imagery.

  • sex false5

    Sex: The main character appears fully naked for long moments, with an erect penis. An attractive woman appears in a latex motion-capture outfit, and the main character wears a similar outfit. They engage in sensual touching (breasts) and licking (crotch area). Later, their performance is turned into a brief, computer-animated scene of lovemaking dragon-like creatures (complete with animated penis). Another woman appears in her bra and panties.

  • language false3

    Language: The French "merde" is used twice, and the subtitles translate it to "s--t." "Moron" and "idiot" are also used.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: The main character smokes cigarettes regularly. He slowly starts drinking whisky over the course of the film; in one scene, he appears to be drunk. The mood is one of despair and regret, rather than humor.