Motivational Growth (2013) (DVD film review).

April 14, 2015 | By | Reply More

I have reviewed some weird films in my 15 years with SFCrowsnest but ‘Motivational Growth’, directed by Don Thacker and starring Jeffrey Combs, has just got to be one of the weirdest of them all. It’s all about a guy who has conversations with an old television and mould growing on the bathroom wall. Strange as it may seem, it’s oddly compelling and even funny in parts, making it quite original and certainly worth watching.


Ian Folivor (actor Adrian Digiovani) is a complete and utter failure and a complete and utter nutter. He couldn’t even commit suicide properly and now lives in an apartment full of grime, filth and muck. He doesn’t wash, stinks to high heaven, has an attitude problem and is a pervert into the bargain. A young lady called Leah (actress Danielle Doetsch) is the centre of his attention as she passes by in the corridor outside, though all he can do is spy on her through the peephole.

This is actually a retro movie set in the 90s and it comes as no surprise to see an old cabinet TV in the apartment, but it is slightly surprising to hear it have conversations with Ian. The TV is his only pal but it breaks down putting an end to the fun. Not to be deterred, Ian then goes to the bathroom only to take a turn and after hitting his head on the wall, discovers that a colony of mould (voiced by Jeffrey Combs) begins to communicate with him.

Filthy as the mould is, it realises Ian is in a terrible state and over several conversations he is guided and cajoled to smarten himself up and get back on the straight and narrow path. It’s a clever mould, witty and intelligent and seems to be quite sensible, so much so that it has Ian achieving good progress and even making his way with Leah. You would think things are crazy at that moment but they get a lot worse when the TV comes back to life to tell him not to believe anything the mould says.

Ian’s life then becomes immersed in a battle between the complex forces trying to control his life. Who should he believe? The mould says one thing and the TV another. Everything spirals out of control when new characters and situations enter his life. You begin to wonder whether or not he will ever get back to sanity, if he was ever sane before, or if he has permanently gone over the precipice never to return. Even though you know it’s all a figment of Ian’s imagination, you begin to believe that the talking mould is real, likewise the TV. You are drawn into the insanity of the movie and when it’s finished you will never look at the TV in the same way again and keep a handy mould remover spray in the bathroom just in case something appears.

This movie is just a riot! It’s weird and it’s funny. Of course it can’t be taken seriously and though you may try to think up philosophical questions about this and that, it doesn’t really matter at the end because it’s entertaining in its own right. It’s got to be recommended. You will either love it or go mad watching it.

The DVD also comes with some extras, not least of which is a commentary involving the director and some of the actors. There’s also a photo gallery, trailers and English subtitles.

Rod MacDonald

April 2015

(region 1 DVD: pub: MVD Group/Parade Deck Films. 1 DVD 104 minute film with extras. Price: £ 6.60 (UK). ASIN: B00O4BDNBY)

cast: Adrian Digiovani, Danielle Doetsch and Jeffrey Combs

English sub-titles

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Category: Fantasy, Films

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