Mark Jewiss’s review published on Letterboxd:
There comes a point in most people's life where they realise that the only single person in the world that will absolutely positively put them at the centre of all decisions, making sure that they are as happy as can be at all times, if themself. No matter what love and friendship you have in your life, everyone else is in your life, and as they live out their own existence, they simply touch upon yours, as you too touch upon them.
This situation is how I interpreted Holy Motors. The story shows Mr Oscar travelling through Paris in the back of limo, being navigated between his 'appointments' for the day. At each one of these, he emerges from the limo dressed and made up as a different character, and then proceeds to take part in a situation which, whilst the viewer thinks about him, is really about the people that he touches, and how each one of them sees him in a different light, taken to the extreme. The 'Holy' part of the title made me wonder if, instead of Oscar representing us, and how we are seen from a unique viewpoint by all of our friends, Oscar is supposed to be a messenger from God, dropping down to Earth to influence and direct people's lives in subtle, or not so subtle ways.
A lot of people have their own theory and interpretation of the film that was lauded as one of, if not the, best movie of 2012, garnering rave reviews from critics almost across the board. Reading interviews with the director, it would seem that everyone is wrong. The film is supposedly talking about the way in which individuals can represent themselves in different ways, living in this Internet age, and is apparently a sci-fi film. But the director is apparently so set against taking part of interviews (he doesn't like to work with anyone that questions him in any way), and is such a nightmare to speak too when he does actually take part in one, that I'm left wondering if what he has said is the whole truth or not.
Unfortunately, the conversation about Holy Motors that takes part after the film has finished (if you even make it to the end) is the most interesting and entertaining part of the whole experience. No matter what the film is trying to show or teach us, it does it in such a boring and un-entertaining way that I nearly gave up several times. I'm all for pretentious movies that are so far up their own arse they haven't seen daylight in days, being forced to search for the hidden subtext and meaning, as long as its done in a way that has a point, is in some way interesting and is entertaining. This, I'm afraid, is virtually none of those things. By far the best scene in the whole movie is one in which our protagonist and a bunch of others walk round in circles in a church banging out a good tune on a collection of musical instruments.
I was so interested to see what this was about, and was hoping to be thrilled with its beauty and greatness, but it just wasn't for me. If you get something out of it, brilliant, I'm really pleased, but for me this is quite probably the worst movie experience I have ever sat through.
Utterly, utterly pointless.