The Million Dollar Hotel

Movie review by
Ellen MacKay, Common Sense Media
The Million Dollar Hotel Movie Poster Image
Self-indulgent and boring; mature teens only.
  • R
  • 2000
  • 122 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Some diversity in the cast.


A suicide (or murder) in the form of a plunge from a building.


There is physical affection between Eloise and Tom Tom, but nothing too objectionable.


Plenty--there's a very foul-mouthed elderly resident who uses the F-word and every other profanity imaginable.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there is a lot of mature content here, but most older teens won't have the patience for it anyway. Parents should be aware of some mature themes (murder/suicide, the exploitation of mentally handicapped characters) as well as some extreme profanity and violence.

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What's the story?

Directed by celebrated independent filmmaker Wim Wenders, THE MILLION DOLLAR HOTEL is a noir-style mystery narrated by Tom Tom (Jeremy Davies), who reveals the details of a Los Angeles murder investigation by FBI agent Skinner (Gibson). At a hotel on skid row, Skinner tries to uncover the truth about the death of Izzy Goldkiss (Tim Roth), who somehow fell off of the hotel's rooftop to his death. The hotel is home to some of Hollywood's weirdest, saddest folk, and Skinner finds himself interviewing "the fifth Beatle," a prostitute (Milla Jovovich), and a rock star's supposed fiancc (Amanda Plummer), among others. Meanwhile, hotel resident Geronimo (Jimmy Smits) is trying to sell off Izzy's abstract artwork.

Is it any good?

The biggest problem with The Million Dollar Hotel is that the supporting cast is made to be absurdly erratic. They twitch and screech and scratch up a storm, until the whole movie seems like the cinematic equivalent of a bad headache. Only Gibson plays the conventional, deep-voiced straight arrow detective, although he is stuck in a ridiculous brace (apparently he has had his third arm removed from his back) that makes him look like an extra from The Fifth Element.

All the atmospheric ticking and shrieking make it hard to see what the movie is intending to convey, or even who the characters are beneath all of that scenery-chewing. Teens are likely to be confused and bewildered by this movie, particularly since they'll probably fail to recognize many allusions to film noir conventions.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about film noir and perhaps see some better examples of the genre.

Movie details

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