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West Hollywood Motel - Movie Review

Updated: Feb 18, 2021

As with all movies on this website, our goal is not to provide a complete synopsis of the movie, but rather to document how the movie relates to the meaning of life. With that said, be forewarned, there are still spoilers ahead.

West Hollywood Motel first appeared in 2013 and was directed by Matt Riddlehoover. The writers of the movie also included the director, Ethan James, and Thashana McQuiston. The film is about several LGBTQ couples, their connection to the West Hollywood Motel, sex, and the meaning of life.

Delving into the doldrums, the listless lives of motel dwellers, the film opens noting the following: Each of these tales is as meaningless as the next. The point I'm trying to illustrate, if I may is that as we journey through life, so much of it is tinged by what Jean-Paul Sartre so fondly refers to as 'nothingness.'

Each couple struggles through their own unique issues—the partygoer vs. the movie watcher, the compulsive liar, the random stranger, and the wife who suddenly grows male genitalia. Each character fights to assert their free will, bound by habit, bound by love, bound by fright, and bound by repressed desires, only by examining their being in the context of their relationships can they find pseudo-meaning; or not, as in the desperate and absurd plea for a reason as to why to spontaneously grow male genitalia.

Towards the end of the film, Trevor who portrays a gay character in a movie that is watched by Marty decides to escape the script, exit the into the real world; similar to that in The Purple Rose of Cairo. Unlikely Woody Allen's movie where the main character encourages the actor to explore reality, Marty implores Trevor to return to the movie because the real world is not so great. Trevor finds a Bible, and Marty explains that it is a book which gives life meaning. Below is the conversation:

Marty: It... it explains how we got here (in regards to the Bible). It gives life meaning.

Trevor: Meaning?

Marty: Uh, yeah... Imagine a movie without a purpose or a happy ending. That is what life is like without that book.

Trevor: I would think unconditional love would give life meaning.

Marty: Yeah, I mean, it's a pretty good illusion. But, you know, even Shakespeare said, 'Life is full of sound and fury, and in the end, signifies nothing.'

Trevor: I don't know about this Shakespeare guy, but isn't life too short to be worrying about all of that?

Marty: Yeah... yeah, I guess it is.

Trevor eventually chooses to go back into the movie rather than to stay in the real world. Some of the relationships work out, and some of them don't. Oh, and the wife who grew the male genitalia? Well, she returns to normal, but before she has sex with her husband. She never discovers a purpose behind it all.

Movie rating: Overall - 5 Meaning of Life Relevance - 6 Uniqueness – 6

Did you see the movie? If so, what did you think? Was Sartre right in his book Being and Nothingness?

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