IMDB Score – 8.0
Rotten Tomato Score – 93%
Grand Prize Winner at Cannes for Joel and Ethan Coen
Four Golden Globe Nominations including Original Song, Cinematography, Best Actor (Oscar Isaac), and Best Picture
Directed By – Joel & Ethan Coen
Starring – Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garret Hedlund, and Justin Timberlake
A week in the life of a young singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961.
I honestly don’t think the Coen brothers can make a bad film. There is not a single film of theirs that I can say I didn’t enjoy in some respect. That statement was made with full awareness that “The Ladykillers” is a film. I actually enjoyed it. Lately, they have been making very subtle and quiet films with heavy undertones of sadness and bleak realism. We saw a completely cold and menacing hitman in “No Country for Old men”, a Jewish man seeming to be under a test from God in “A Serious Man”, and a revolving door of bad decisions in “Burn After Reading”. I don’t think any other filmmakers have such a unique style as the Coens. They have a resume of films spanning all kinds of genres but still seem like they fall in the same universe as each other. I’ll never get tired of seeing them succeed.
Inside Llewyn Davis is probably one of their best films. I absolutely loved it. I’m not going to go so far as call it a masterpiece because it’s going to be something that most people are going to like but certain people are going to fall in love with. People who seem to be set with their lives are going to laugh at the antics of John Goodman and a hilarious supporting cast of characters that fall right into place with all the other great Coen scene stealers. They’re going to appreciate the music and probably be confused with the end and you know what? That’s okay. This movie is really made for people who are having trouble finding where they fit in this world. The story follows Llewyn Davis, a struggling folk singer without an address who is trying to build a career in his passion of singing songs and playing his guitar. He sleeps on couches. Most people don’t like him. He is the epitome of a lost soul trying to find substance and meaning. I may not be in the same in the same situation as Davis, but I connected with him as somebody who just can’t catch a break in trying to find happiness. It’s a bleak but very real look into a time where so many people were trying to find themselves.
The film is smart and witty. I found myself belly laughing at a lot of scenes which feature the usual Coen sense of humor. John Goodman steals every scene he is in but also plays one of the films more tragic characters. Justin Timberlake and Garret Hedlund don’t have much screen time but each of their characters make an impression one way or another. The always great Carey Mulligan plays a former lover of Davis and a spiteful one at that.
The music in the film is the final character as it’s one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard in a long time. I’m not even that big a fan of folk music but the songs in here are sung with such emotion and feeling that it was hard not to fall in love with them. I’ll be purchasing the soundtrack. Oscar Isaac, whom I’ve only seen in one other movie (Drive), gives one of the best performances of the year. The dude can also sing. This is obviously to be expected but I was surprised by how good he was. His performance was crushing and while his character definitely came off a bit unlikable, I couldn’t help but sympathize with him. I wanted Llewyn to find happiness in his life just like I want everybody to find happiness, including myself.
The film is fantastic. It’s the perfect film for people trying to leave a footprint on this planet. It’s going to be too depressing for some, boring for the others, and pointless for many, but I found the film to be engrossing and completely endearing to the human need for purpose. It’s a special film with a special performance. I’ll be seeing it again.