Actually, the director describes this as a science fiction about people wanting to change their lives and have new experiences. But, if you don’t know that or aren’t into the surreal, the absurd or nonsense and are expecting some sort of narrative thread, you will find yourself at a loss in trying to understand what is going on and waiting for a payoff that never comes.
However, if you are able to sit back and enjoy the images of a man named Oscar (Denis Lavant), who is driven around Paris in a white stretch limousine by a female chauffeur named Celine (Edith Scob) to “appointments,” for each of which he dons a different disguise and plays out a different role, you will often be amused.
Once I dropped looking for any semblance of sense, I realized the film reminded me of the nonsense plays of Ring Lardner (not his son of Woman of the Year or M*A*S*H* fame), one of which I turned into a play while in college. A highlight was a wash tub filled with water that served as a boat on a dry sea. Get the picture?
My issue with Holy Motors, is that, once I got into just seeing each of the appointment segments as a vignette all its own, there was a realistic scene, ending in a suicide, that was just ignored by Oscar as he hurried on to his last appointment where he was at “home” with a chimpanzee wife and baby chimp. Oh, yes.
Then, I remembered the quote from Macbeth and felt this was just “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
I’ll weirdly give it a 3 out of 5 for its attempt to be different.