Inside Llewyn Davis - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Inside Llewyn Davis Reviews

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October 15, 2017
I give this a 98/A+.
Super Reviewer
September 13, 2017
The Coen Brothers helm another musical piece ("O Brother Where Art Thou"), that uses the music as a backdrop to assess the American reality versus the American Dream. Their hero is honest to a fault, an ugly fault (and aware of that same, and proud of it) earnestly trying to live to a higher standard, failed by the people around him, and worst, failed by his own weaknesses. Remember those pictures by Margaret Keane of sad, big eyed waifs caught in eternal drift? This is the cinematic equivalent, and indeed, the spirit is touching.
½ August 22, 2017
This is in that category of movie: character studies of losers/douchebags/shitheels. It is not my favorite category but this is one of the better ones. I am increasing my rating from the 6.4 I gave it on first viewing. He's a dick but he gets punched in the head so it's okay. No but it's a very authentic portrait - I feel like I know him - plus it has some poignant elements I relate to personally. There is a lot to think about and I keep coming back to it. I don't want to hang around with the guy and I don't see rewatching it a ton - but it's a well done movie. 7.2 out of 10
August 18, 2017
GREG: (Greg Smith, Founder of Agile Writers of Richmond, VA) Scott, it s time to get inside one of the best films of 2013.

SCOTT: (Dr. Scott Allison, Professor of Psychology, University of Richmond) Better to be inside than outside on a cold day like today.

GREG: We meet Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac), a talented young folk musician in Greenwich Village in 1961. It s the height of the folk scene and New York City is a swirl of music, drink, and culture. Llewyn has recently broken up with his partner. Their album isn t selling well and he gets by sleeping on the sofas of friends and benefactors. One friend is Jean (Carey Mulligan) who is a pretty young woman married to Jim (Justin Timberlake) who is Llewyn s best friend. The problem is, Llewyn got her pregnant and she wants him to pay for the abortion.

SCOTT: Llewyn agrees to pay, and we learn that Jean isn t the first woman whose pregnancy he has aborted. After wearing out his welcome at the usual places he crashes at, Llewyn hitchhikes to Chicago to audition for a record producer. His constant companion is a cat that belongs to a friend and that Llewyn keeps losing and finding, although it isn t always the same cat. Two odd musicians, Johnny Five (Garrett Hedlund) and Roland Turner (John Goodman) give Llewyn a ride to Chicago.

GREG: Scott, Inside Llewyn Davis is a rare film in that it isn t about the plot, it s about the character. We re truly getting a look at Davis s life and his inner workings through this one-week peek into his life. He s not a perfect man. In fact, in most ways, he s not a very nice person at all. But we like him because he is true to his music. He doesn t compromise on his music in the least. He will do almost anything to play his music, his way.

SCOTT: I don t know, Greg. I didn t like him much at all. Yes, he cares about the cat, and yes, he cares about his music. But he s pretty dislikable in most other ways. I did feel sorry for him, and perhaps the film is a cautionary tale about the way that any of us can lose ourselves in a web of misguided ambition. Llewyn Davis may represent the common human drive to succeed and find happiness. But like most people, Llewyn is his own worst enemy and seems to find a way to sabotage himself at every turn. I enjoyed the movie because it is rich with symbolism and is populated by some of the most memorable characters we ve seen in the movies this year. For me, the cat symbolizes the dream that Llewyn was chasing -- ever elusive and not always quite the dream he thinks it is. And while trying to nurture it Llewyn ends up harming it.

GREG: For me, Davis is the classic suffering poet. And you re right, he can t get out of his own way. He is so focused on playing his music that he can t make a plan for the future. He lives entirely in the present. He insults people and burns bridges and never looks back. He believes his way of playing music is pure and all other forms are beneath him. I empathized with Davis, Scott. I think we all have this sense of what is right. But most of us can t make the sacrifices necessary to live the pure life. We give and take and follow the middle path. I respected Davis s commitment and his sacrifice. But it took a toll on him and his relationships. In the end, he was left alone. And that was the ultimate price he paid for perfection.

SCOTT: I didn t respect Llewyn because he leeches off of people, uses people, and abandons people. My daughter is currently an aspiring musician in New York but she has a job to support herself. Llewyn is so prideful that he deems it beneath him to be self-supporting. That kind of arrogance is his undoing, and in this way Llewyn is like many heroes who self destruct -- although I loathe to call Llewyn a hero because he never changes. He s the same loser at the end that he was at the beginning. Once again, I return to the cat. Not coincidentally, the cat is named Ulysses, the great hero of the Trojan war who spent two decades dodging enemies and obstacles while trying to get home. In the end, Ulysses makes it home -- in both myth and in this movie -- but Llewyn s long and painful journey has no such happy ending. There is only the futile repetitive pattern of arrogance and self-destruction for Llewyn.

GREG: I found I liked Davis after all. Yes, he was selfish and careless with others feelings. But he had many of the Great Eight characteristics you mention in your book. He was smart, strong, resilient, charismatic, and inspiring. The fact that he was missing caring and selfless aligns him with villain-type characters. So I would classify Davis as an anti-hero. He s dastardly, but I was still pulling for him. I bought in to his quest for pure music. And he carried me along through to the end. When I rate movies I usually ask myself what could have been better? In the case of Inside Llewyn Davis I have no complaints. This is an open-ended story. The loose ends are not neatly tied up for us. We don t get to see how he ends up and we don t ever learn why his partner committed suicide. But what we do get is a look inside a man so firmly committed to his craft that nothing else mattered. That story was perfectly delivered so I give Inside Llewyn Davis 5 out of 5 Reels. This was more of a character study than a Hero s Journey, and as we are measuring the hero by that standard I have to give Llewyn Davis 4 out of 5 Heroes. If I had known him in person, I am sure that I would have admired him. But I m not sure we could have been friends. Movie: Heroes:

SCOTT: Hard to believe we saw the same man in this movie, Greg. Llewyn Davis was far from smart; he was a fool who never learned from his mistakes. Ill credit him for being a resilient fool for picking himself up off the floor after repeating the same mistake over and over again. This pointless resilience is the only semblance of the Great Eight that I see in the man. Which is a shame because he obviously has potential, but he has so much pride and so many blinders on that he ll never realize that potential. But I agree with you that Inside Llewyn Davis is an excellent movie, as it stylishly depicts the human condition of hubris, ego, selfishness, and self-sabotage in full and ugly bloom. The Coen brothers have crafted an excellent tale of human futility here and I m happy to give it 4 Reels out of 5. The true hero of the story is the cat, Ulysses. Thrown into the unfamiliar world by the bumbling Llewyn Davis, the cat shows remarkable intelligence, strength, and resilience in making it back home. I give the cat 4 Heroes out of 5. Movie: Heroes:
August 10, 2017
Structureless, beautiful, and gripping. Inside Llewyn Davis will continue to keep you guessing through every turn of Llewyn's journey. Every shot is a painting of stylistic, incredible cinematography. Music that fills the mood with an air unlike any other film I've seen. Do not miss out on a masterpiece film, you will not be disappointed.
July 29, 2017
A sorrowful story of a struggling folk artist. What makes this movie unique and great is the realization that there may not always be a happy ending. The performances alone are enough to grab any viewer and pull them into the intensely brooding narrative.
July 7, 2017
2/5 stars

This is exactly the sort of movie I hate. There seemed to be no real point to the movie. It was just kinda depressing and boring. I got this from a "Best Movies of the 21st Century" list as the best movie by the Cohen brothers and, I gotta say I just don't get it.
June 29, 2017
My favorite Coen Brothers film.
The writing, acting, directing, cinematography, costumes, and especially the music come together to create a modern melancholy classic.
½ June 29, 2017
Don't get the extreme love for the film. It has brilliant moments throughout the film but it isn't very memorable to me. The biggest issue I have with the film is the main character. There are character who are too likable and that's a bad thing (I'm talking to you Rey from Forse awakens). These characters have no flaws and aren't ever put in a situation where the audience fears for their safety. That's a problem as people start to tune out because that character is just too perfect. Although, it is bad if a character has all the flaws and never really changes. This is what happens to Llewyn Davis. His progression in the film is do to his failures as a artist and not his internal revelations. This is a huge problem as the annoying character just keeps pushing everything down. Films like the mummy (2017) have had this problem to. They're main characters are so unlikable the audience doesn't want them to succeed. Now, the film does play this as a short of idea and plot point of the film, but the character just kept irritating me the whole movie.

Now, I did like the film. The acting but Oscar was fantastic as he portrayed this asshole in human form and all of the acting was top notch. The directing and cinematography was great as well, as you assume that from a Coen Brothers film. I truly liked most of it with great songs that tie into the he overall mood of the film, I just couldn't get past our protagonist that seemed more like a asshole cartoon character more than a hero.

½ June 17, 2017
Un film che sfiora la perfezione, un ritratto crudo ed intenso di un personaggio bellissimo e profondo. Come sempre abbiamo dei dialoghi di altissimo livello, insieme a Tarantino i migliori sulla piazza. La sceneggiatura č ironica, amara e a tratti anche divertente, con scene caratteristiche che rendono il film unico nel suo genere, come qualsiasi altro film dei Coen. i due registi dimostrano per l'ennesima volta il loro talento sconfinato non solo a dirigere un film, ma anche a saper condividere e raccontare le emozioni pių sincere che uno spettatore possa ricevere. Il finale dice tutto e conclude quello che ricorderō come un piccolo ed intenso capolavoro.
June 16, 2017
"Inside Llewyn Davis is what is inside all of us: the longing to be accepted, to connect with and contribute to others, a longing that, though it is often misdirected and filled with pain, is universal and allows the film to transcend the singer's limited perspective. Overall, with an initial slow pace and then picking up the pace within its progress, the story gets you lost in its musical fold, making it worth a watch."
½ June 13, 2017
karena gua suka banget dengerin musik-musik folk, pas nonton ini semnagat banget dari awal sampe akhir. cerita yang berkualitas dan akting isaac yang fantastis dalam bermain gitar dan menyanyi. gua langsung demen sama si oscar isaac gegara ini.
½ May 30, 2017
The Coen brothers are two of my favorite directors, and they've made some of my favorite movies of all-time. Fargo & No Country for Old Men are two of my favorites, and the reason why is the beautiful direction and writing that is put into both films. When I first heard about Inside Llewyn Davis, it was immediately put into my most anticipated of that year. The cast and plot of the movie is what truly got me excited, along with the Coen brothers being behind the camera. What we get is what I expected and wanted, a very quirky and brilliant glimpse of a struggling musician trying to make his way into the music business. I thought the writing was great, the cast was phenomenal, and most of all the tone of the film is what sucked me in the whole time. This is a very fine outing for the Coen brothers, and it is definitely up there with one of my favorite movies from the duo.
May 30, 2017
Astounded at the reviews for this, I found this insufferably dull. So self congratulatory about all the songs which are almost all terrible. Carey Mulligan was the only character I found of interest and she's only in it fleetingly, completely stumped as to why this is so well regarded. Not for me.
May 24, 2017
Incredibly well done in all facets. The acting was great, the character development was phenomenal. There were comedic aspects integrated into a melancholy tone. Beautifully done.
½ May 19, 2017
In February 1961, Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) is a struggling folk singer in New York City's Greenwich Village. His musical partner, Mike Timlin, has died by suicide; his recent solo album Inside Llewyn Davis is not selling; he has no money and is sleeping on the couches of friends and acquaintances. Guitar in tow, huddled against the unforgiving New York winter he is trying to make it as a musician against seemingly insurmountable obstacles -- some of them of his own making...

The film won the Grand Prix at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, where it screened on May 19, 2013. The film received critical acclaim and was nominated for two Academy Awards (Best Cinematography and Best Sound Mixing) and for three Golden Globe Awards: Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical, Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy (Oscar Isaac), and Best Original Song. Rotten Tomatoes consensus states: "Smart, funny, and profoundly melancholy, Inside Llewyn Davis finds the Coen brothers in fine form." Writing for The Village Voice, Alan Scherstuhl praised the Coen brothers' film: "While often funny and alive with winning performances, Inside Llewyn Davis finds the brothers in a dark mood, exploring the near-inevitable disappointment that faces artists too sincere to compromise-disappointments that the Coens, to their credit, have made a career out of dodging. The result is their most affecting film since the masterful A Serious Man." Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter called the film "an outstanding fictional take on the early 1960s folk music scene," praising the "fresh, resonant folk soundtrack" and Oscar Isaac's performance that "deftly manages the task of making Llewyn compulsively watchable." IGN reviewer Leigh Singer gave the film a 10 out of 10 'Masterpiece' score, saying "Don't be fooled by the seemingly minor key...this is one of the finest works by - let's just call it - the most consistently innovative, versatile and thrilling American filmmakers of the last quarter-century.'" Folk singers, however, have criticized the film for misrepresenting the friendliness of the Village folk scene of the time. Terri Thal, Dave Van Ronk's ex-wife, said, "I didn't expect it to be almost unrecognizable as the folk-music world of the early 1960s." Suzanne Vega said "I feel they took a vibrant, crackling, competitive, romantic, communal, crazy, drunken, brawling scene and crumpled it into a slow brown sad movie." The film was also criticized for the fact that, although it was to some extent based on the memoir of folk singer Dave Van Ronk, the film portrayed a character very much at odds with the real Van Ronk, usually described as a "nice guy". However, at a press interview before the film was premiered at Cannes, the Coens had stated that the character itself was very much an original creation, and that the music was the major influence they had drawn from Van Ronk.

Personally I think that the Coen brothers have lost a bit of their movie magic the past years. I didnīt particularly like "Hail Caesar", but with "Inside Llewyn Davis" thereīs something that reaches a higher note. The setting of New York City's Greenwich Village in the early 60s is very nice (I canīt however
say anything about the so called "misrepresenting" of the Village folk scene some people want to push), the music is great and I love that most of the folk songs performed in the film are sung in full and recorded live (Oscar Isaac is just great), the actors but in a great job with their versatile characters and the cinematography is bleak and yet rich setting a melancholic tone. Oscar Isaacīs Llewyn Davis is however not that of a nice character stuck in a frustrating, self-made vacuum of an existence. Everybody is self-piteous and disappointed. Itīs misery. That is also part of the bigger flaws in the film. You donīt really like Llewyn and his hatred towards life in general due to his own musical failure he dreams of and his leech like actions. You donīt like any of the characters. The plot is more or less saying that creating art is difficult and only a lucky few become successful and notable. But the plot also moves in slow motion and feels scattered not really going nowhere. Joel Coen remarked that "the film doesn't really have a plot. That concerned us at one point; that's why we threw the cat in." Hmmm... It just becomes a loop in the end as it ends the way it began. Meaning life is a mere repetition of things. Yes, often we see films that focus on following our dreams and never giving up on them, but here the focus is on someone who doesn't achieve them. Good or bad? Refreshing maybe. But, I still believe that you need to like the character/characters at least a little bit despite them not being likeable while failing their dreams and hopes.
May 7, 2017
Wonderful movie great music.
April 27, 2017
Another joke of a movie trying to pass as "Art"...The songs are nice though...
April 8, 2017
As "odd" as you would expect a Cohen Brothers movie to be and only they can get away with that ending. The performances and music are superb.
½ April 5, 2017
For some reason, I love the depressed feeling that this film carries the whole way through. As someone that enjoys the genre of music that is played, and someone that plays music, that adds a whole different level of love I have for this movie. Inside Lleywn Davis is a sad, funny, dramatic film that I come back to from time to time for a quality experience and is worth a viewing for yourself.
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