Inside Llewyn Davis - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Inside Llewyn Davis Reviews

Page 1 of 111
January 19, 2018
I can't figure out why this movie got made. Also it took me 80 minutes to realize any of the musicians in this were supposed to be talented instead of warmed-over Hollywood crap. Nothing about this movie is different or noticeably good.
½ January 13, 2018
i'm gonna change it, legally..

Inside Llewyn Davis

Ethan and Joel seems a bit distracted somewhere in the middle through a brief period of time but then comes back with more than anticipated and leaves you mesmerized in the end.
January 11, 2018
The best Coen brothers since Blood Simple and Barton Fink. I woud give it top stars. The Cat is the defining actor in the movie (along with Isaac, who is out of the world, I would have given him Best Actor Oscar(award)). I wish there are more classics like these from other filmmakers about the 60s music era, as it has shaped the musical world today. Its a tribute to movies on screen, to music through sound and acting to reality. True classic. I would fight those who would criticize such a film. Top Marks in every possible way.
½ January 8, 2018
Different, slow, smart, and all together nothing to complain about. Isaac kills. Updated to 4.5 after 3 viewings in last 4 years.
January 4, 2018
It sounds.... just right!
½ January 4, 2018
disappointed. Yes it was quirky and I could have enjoyed it more if Llewyn was not such a jerk.
½ January 3, 2018
Touching and bold. It requires tremendous courage of conviction to make a movie out of a topic so offbeat. LD is heartbreakingly (repeatedly) grim as it paints the life of a wannabe singer that nobody wants to listen to. There is some dark humour in his misery, primarily because of the weird characters that keep walking in and out in every sequence, with all having only one thing in common - utter disrespect for LD or his talents. Adorned with numerous soulful tunes, great actors/acting and appropriately melancholy backdrop (some truly haunting scenes), this is almost a perfect package - except for possibly the end that is right but unsatisfying (with absolutely no resolutions).
December 26, 2017


[Joel & Ethan Coen]
November 8, 2017
(4 out of 4) I remember the first time I watched this, I didn't know what to think of it. The title character, Llewyn Davis, is a jerk at times and that character can turn-off many people. I think I see where I went wrong in the past after a recent rewatch. I think it's important to realize the style and humor of a Coen Bros. movie, which (like many great artists) is distinctive and unlike what others are doing. You don't approach a Coen brothers film like you would a typical mainstream film that advertises itself as a drama/comedy mix. It's important to really get on their wavelength to better understand what they are doing. With that said, this may very well be a masterpiece. The performances, the cinematography, the design, and of course the music all come together seamlessly to form a work of art that somehow blends all of these elements together perfectly. The Coens' have a unique way of blending comedy with drama and that talent truly shines here. I still haven't seen all of their work, but of all i've seen from them, this is the most mature. This film centers in on the struggle to become successful and the world constantly not giving you any breaks. While it realizes that this experience of achieving success is unpleasant in many forms for some people, it embraces people who are on that journey and strive to become what they want to be. Not everyone that wants to be successful will achieve it, but the film is about that experience of putting your passions before your well-being. It's a honest truth that not many films delve into, plus it's not sympathetic and doesn't promise a happy ending, but It's honest, and completely engaging.

P.S. If you have an interest in checking out the works of the Coen brothers, I strongly recommend checking out some of their other work before this one. I think some of their more accessible films might help you have a better appreciation and understanding for this film once you have an idea of the Coen style. I recommend seeing The Big Lebowski or Fargo first. I feel one of those films are better introduction to the Coen's style.
November 7, 2017
Inside Llewyn Davis restores your faith in music and movies. Look into a week of passion and hardships with starving musician Llewyn Davis. Directors and writers Joel and Ethan Coen (Fargo, O' Brother Where Are Thou? and No Country for Old Men) capture the sights and sounds of the '60s folk music in Inside Llewyn Davis. The Coen brothers show the struggles of a fictional folk singer living in New York City. This is Llewyn Davis' story. The story begins in the bitterly cold winter of Greenwich Village, NY, where the audience experiences a piece of Davis' (Oscar Isaac) life in a week. Davis' former singing partner, Mike, had just recently committed suicide, so now Davis sings solo.

Here we see the highs and lows of Davis trying to get his name out in the world and - most of all - share his passion for music. Isaac delivers the title role with heart and shows us Davis' raw pain. However, Davis still does not have the best reputation. He mooches off of people's homes, loses a friend's cat and gets his best friend Jim's (Justin Timberlake) wife, Jean, pregnant. But Jean (Carey Mulligan) gives Davis hell for his actions. Mulligan's words are precise and they cut deep. Later, Davis hitches a ride with junkie jazz musician Ronald Turner (John Goodman) up to Chicago to audition at a big-time studio. Goodman is hilarious and will make you laugh every time he is on screen.

The groundbreaking cinematography and stellar soundtrack of folk music are captivating throughout the film. The Coen brothers matched the film with a soundtrack that really captures the '60s. The folk music is written with style and is executed superbly in the film. This soundtrack is pure pleasure. Once you have heard this music you won't want to let it go. The Coen brothers also show us the dark and provocative side of Davis throughout the film. By the end, you will feel Davis' raw pain for his music. In my opinion, this is by far the best film by the Coen brothers since Fargo and adds another installment to their canon. It's also one of my favorite films of the year. I give it the highest of highs, five out of five stars. Davis' story comes and goes, but his passion will stay with you forever. If you are a music or film lover I would advise you to go see this film at once.
October 22, 2017
(4.5 out of 6)
When we don't see something's coming to get hit down to only get right back up. When we don't see we are in the wrong journey to only stay down, as others had done when they see they don't have it. When we see we are not wanted to only be taken in like a stray cat. When we don't see what we done or headed to be shown what we don't see. When we see we can handle it by getting rid of it when we see we are not ready for large responsibility. When we see we are lucky to have people to rely on when we don't see something's coming to have a place to stay. When we see that we can't mess things up to only make doors open for us not close them. When we see we head in directions that others are headed when we are forever searching for places that wish to see us. When we need to make others see we are good for them to be told they don't see it when what people only see is money in what we are worth. When we see something's that look on the upside turn downside and other things we see are upside we don't see the downside when we just naturally don't see where we and others are headed to be headed the same direction. When we see life is a bitch and life abandons us to only takes us so far before we abandon others then ourselves in dark parts we don't see. When we don't see we are a struggling artist and performer to only be desperate to stay with those who mistaken us for good before they abandon us. When we see that we make decisions for ourselves and not think about others to only suffer such fate when it is brought to us. When we don't see having enough to keep going is the problem that we don't see something's coming when what we hate is what is coming. when we don't see the next up and coming to only see the vary thing to bring us down and keep us down when we are not relavant then most others.
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.

Page 1 of 111