Review: Inside Llewyn Davis

Glib Reviews - The Occasional New Release

- Directed by the Coen Bros.

Oscar Isaac has a great time being miserable in this film, very loosely based of folkie legend Dave Von Ronk. Isaac, as Llewyn Davis has just the right amount of charm and neuroses to make you understand why he’s everyone’s ex-boyfriend. Though it takes awhile to get why Carey Mulligan’s character hates him quite as much as she does. The Love/Hateness of this relationship defines the movie, it’s depressing, but somehow charming while doing so, hopeful even in the face of utter despair. Mulligan’s character, Jean, is based on a real folkie, Jean Ray (of ‘Jim& Jean,’ just like the movie) who also happened to be the inspiration for Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl.” (which is in my top 5 all time songs) 

As with all the Coen Brothers pictures, the ensemble cast brings their A game, John Goodman does his best grandiose smarmy junkie jazz musician yet, Garret Hedlund is the Peter Stomare (think Fargo) of this flick. Everyone has an edgy relationship with Davis, except of course for the Orange Tabby Cat, who we find out in a bit of Coens’ self referencialism (and maybe a touch of Chris Marker homage) is named Ulysses.

Really great small turns from Justin Timberlake and Adam Driver.

Llewyn’s concern for the cat, and for Jean who does nothing but spew invective at him grounds him, and assures the audience that he’s not a complete jerk. He never catches a break and in the end the story takes on a Sisyphus-ean turn that made me cry as Llewyn does a despair filled but glorious rendition of  Fare Thee Well.

Seriously good Coen Bros film, but maybe not one of their best. Any other film makers did this; it would be their Best, but even the ‘worst’ (no bad films I can think of) of the Coens is better than most anything else. 

7.99999 Folk Singer Ex Boyfriends sleeping on your sofa far longer than you are comfortable with outta 10


  1. Tami and I debated about the ending - she thought it was hopeful and his life finally turned around. I thought the opposite - that after getting beat up, it was just another rock bottom in a sea of rock bottoms.

  2. I like that it could go either way, ambiguous enough to make me think about it.


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