<I>Inside Llewyn Davis</I> Might Be the Best Coen Brothers Movie Yet

Folk music is supposed to be the music of the people. Yet at the heart of Joel and Ethan Coen's Inside Llewyn Davis, set in New York in the winter of 1961, is a folksinger with no feeling for people. Llewyn Davis, played by Oscar Isaac, is a broke, rumpled moocher who drifts from couch to couch until there are no couches left — either by drinking too much and getting rude or simply by opening his mouth to let his hostile thoughts flow out, he has a talent for alienating every friend he's got. He's also a gifted singer, the remaining half of a semi-successful duo that has broken apart with no hope of reuniting, but it's clear he's not going to be a hitmaker — the material he chooses leans toward traditional weepers about mourning dead lovers or ballads about young boys heading off to sea, music carried to America from the dark soul of the British Isles. If Llewyn had a bell, he most definitely would not ring it in the morning; he'd be too hungover, or at least just too pissed off at the world.

Llewyn is in many ways a dreadful human being, but you can't turn away from him. The Coens seem to love him, too: Inside Llewyn Davis is the warmest picture they've ever made, and though it will never attract the cultlike adoration of The Big Lebowski and Fargo, or earn the serious-lit-adaptation accolades of No Country for Old Men, it's possibly their best. Taking place over just a few days, it evokes a fleeting time, place, and vibe: The Village folk scene of the early 1960s, anchored around a few cavelike, no-frills clubs, was changed forever once Bob Dylan set foot on it — he was too explosive for it to contain him. But before that, in the heyday of Dave Van Ronk, a scruffy folk luminary who never became a true star, it was much more intimate. That pre-Dylan world, the setting for Inside Llewyn Davis, may be very small, but Llewyn is lost in it.

In the opening scene, Llewyn gets beaten up — for reasons that aren't clear until the end — in the alley behind one of the little clubs he's just played. Shortly thereafter, he loses a cat belonging to the friends who have generously put him up for a night, a lovely marmalade fellow with a question mark for a tail. And when he shows up at the doorstep of another friend, fellow folk singer Jean (Carey Mulligan), we get an even better sense of his ability to alienate people. She's furious, a thundercloud in a turtleneck and shaggy blunt bangs. As it turns out, even though she's the live-in (and singing) partner of another friend (played, wonderfully, by a super-earnest Justin Timberlake), she and Llewyn have a history. You can see why: Llewyn is devastatingly handsome in a Sephardic way, the kind of damaged goods some women can't help falling for. But Jean need only lay eyes on him before cutting him dead — she takes just like a woman, yes she does.

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Location Info

Map

AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13‎

1998 Broadway
New York, NY 10023

Category: Movie Theaters

Region: West 60s

Regal Union Square Stadium 14

850 Broadway
New York, NY 10003

Category: Movie Theaters

Region: Union Square

Details

Inside Llewyn Davis
Written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen
CBS Films
Opens December 6, AMC Loews Lincoln Square and Regal Union Square



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Llewyn has already screwed everything up. Why stop now? Though Inside Llewyn Davis is essentially a New York movie, in a desperate effort to grab the attention of a hotshot record producer (F. Murray Abraham in a beatnik goatee), Llewyn takes a road trip to Chicago, hitching a ride with a surly big-daddy jazz cat (John Goodman) and his too-cool-for-school minder (Garret Hedlund). But Llewyn's real odyssey takes place deep inside: As Isaac plays him, he's a punky lost lamb in need of saving, though no one can get close enough to do it; his eyes say "come closer" even as he's kicking away mightily. He's impatient with stupidity, both real and perceived. But he has a capacity for tenderness, too. It's certainly there in his singing — Isaac does his own, in a voice that's dusky and sad but also luminous as the moon. He's a character in mourning, both for another person and for lost parts of himself. The latter are harder to get over.

Inside Llewyn Davis gets everything softly, quietly right. T-Bone Burnett supervised the music, and it never sounds as if it's been lifted out of some dusty vault — it's alive. Cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel gives us a half-tarnished, half-burnished vision of early 1960s New York, just dreamy enough, rather than laden with false nostalgia. The movie features one of the finest marmalade-cat performances since The Long Goodbye. (Technically, we're talking about several cats, but let's look the other way for the sake of movie magic.) And although the Coens are consummate craftsmen, they don't always show the lightness of touch or the depth of feeling they do here. Llewyn is suffering, and though we can't forsake him, it's hard not to laugh at his terrible misadventures. He's behaving badly in a typically New York kind of way, fumbling his way through his stress. Intentionally or otherwise, the Coens might be channeling the Hal Ashby of The Landlord, or Next Stop, Greenwich Village–era Paul Mazursky. Whatever they're doing, it's remarkable — cockeyed humanism at its best.

Credit: CBS Films

Cutline: Bringing It All Back Home: Oscar Isaac and friend

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91578 comments
Rhuid
Rhuid

Inside Llewyn Davis -- Five Hundred Miles [Folk]: submitted by JerkinYourGerkin [link] [comment] bit.ly/1pDJiBp

Attucus
Attucus

Inside Llewyn Davis -- Five Hundred Miles [Folk]: submitted by JerkinYourGerkin [link] [comment] bit.ly/1pDJiBp

media mafia
media mafia

Inside Llewyn Davis -- Five Hundred Miles [Folk]: submitted by JerkinYourGerkin [link] [comment] bit.ly/1pDJiBp

Al Robinson
Al Robinson

My roommate asked a tough question tonight: which movie did I like better: Almost Famous or Inside Llewyn Davis. Hmm.... ..... .....

Adam Redding
Adam Redding

Inside Llewyn Davis was an incredibly insightful portrait of a struggling musician. Genuine talent sabotaged by stubbornness & integrity.

katie
katie

inside llewyn davis is so sad but the music is so pretty

초콜렛무스
초콜렛무스

비오는 창문을 바라보던 고양이, 진의 얼굴, 진솔한 노래들이 오늘과 잘 어울려 생각나는. 다시 봐야겠다. inside Llewyn Davis

Oscar Maskie
Oscar Maskie

Si de verdad me aman, me van a regalar el soundtrack de "Inside Llewyn Davis"

bay k.
bay k.

Inside Llewyn Davis...Coen kardeşlerden...yılın en iyilerinden...

Shelby Weldon
Shelby Weldon

Convinced my sister to finally watch 'Inside Llewyn Davis'...She didn't love it. I don't even care: song of the day is The Shoals of Herring

Minnie Dalton
Minnie Dalton

Another Day/Another Time: Celebrating the Music of "Inside Llewyn Davis" was awesome!

(╯_╰)
(╯_╰)

watching inside llewyn davis and disappointed it's not gay porn

Becky Parmeley
Becky Parmeley

Do I want to watch inside llewyn davis or will it make me sad???

§t juj the babe
§t juj the babe

i think im going to wash my sheets & watch inside llewyn davis

ryan
ryan

Watching Inside Llewyn Davis and half expect Bryan Cranston to show up.

Gurpreet Kang
Gurpreet Kang

Finally watching Inside Llewyn Davis. Thank you Netflix!

Chris
Chris

Thats it I'm making a music movie script! Thank you "Begin Again" and "Inside Llewyn Davis" lol

November rain
November rain

Inside Llewyn Davis, No Country For Old Men, The Big Lebowski, Burn After Reading aussi

Ray O'Connor
Ray O'Connor

@sjwyer1 yep Luke Kelly version is better alright, that movie is very good though "inside llewyn Davis". If you haven't seen..check it out!

James Grebey
James Grebey

Hold on a second, lemme check— Nope. Still a travesty that "Inside Llewyn Davis" got screwed at the Oscars.

El Plebeyo
El Plebeyo

Para quien tenga interés. De los Hermanos Cohen: Balada de un hombre común (Inside Llewyn Davis). Una GRAN película. Excelente. Hay q verla

Darcy Yusuf
Darcy Yusuf

My Nephew said to put up my You're Next poster and take down Inside Llewyn Davis, so I did. Horror posters are rare for me. :'(

Julia Armfield
Julia Armfield

The choice is Aliens, Inside Llewyn Davis or True Detective and it's like WHY ARE THERE NO FOLK SINGING FREUDIAN SPACE MOVIES ABOUT BAD WIGS

Sam Passlow-Thomas
Sam Passlow-Thomas

Finally about to sit down and watch Inside Llewyn Davis :) hoping its as good as everyone makes it out to be!

 

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