Benjamin Kersey’s review published on Letterboxd:
Most of the people with whom I talk cinema know that I never, or VERY rarely, feel the need to analyze a film. From Lynch to Nolan to Kelly to Kaufman, I take movies at face value most of the time. I have to admit, however, that this film took this notion of mine and threw it out the window of Oscar’s car. How can one take Holy Motors at face value? You can’t. It’s physically impossible to go through the movie without thinking “oh it’s this...” or “oh it’s that...”. Here’s what I got from it.
Oscar is an actor. Holy Motors is nothing more than an actor’s life. Travelling through life in a limousine, leaving the car as one or another, Oscar may be the world’s most versatile actor. Going from a Sacha Baron Cohen-esque mockumentary character to an actor in a motion capture porno, from a Quasimodo-type character obsessed with his Esmeralda to a twin performance that rivals Jeremy Irons’ brilliance in Dead Ringers, and whoever that clearly important white haired-guy was, Denis Lavant fucking KILLS it in this. His performance in the film should be remembered as one of the greatest ever caught on film.
In a film in which I was not expecting there to be that many touching moments, the most touching scene in the film is the act one closer (also, I’ll say it again, I’m a slut for films with intermissions, and an even BIGGER slut for intermission scenes that include an accordion band walking through a chapel playing a certified banger!!!!!) where we see Oscar in his most meaningful role, his role as a father in real life, as he is in between characters. He can’t relate to his daughter, a socially anxious kid who hides in bathrooms at parties, while he’s an actor who goes balls out and almost kills himself in every role he portrays. That scene really caught me by surprise, as I wasn’t expecting to be emotional at any time after this film’s first 45 minutes. Kylie Minogue’s brilliant song near the end is also an incredibly touching sequence.
While admittedly not the greatest pick for film club (sorry Nikki, I know you’ll hate this), this is gonna be the subject of a hopefully fascinating conversation about the boundaries of cinema and how film can be whatever the fuck you want it to be.
Fuck yeah, Leos Carax. Fuck yeah, Denis Lavant. Thank you for this masterpiece.