<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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93867 comments
Thomo
Thomo

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVISみてきた。ジョークも混ざっててなかなかおもしろかった。なによりトラ猫が可愛かった!!wでもフォークソングってどれも似たようにかんじちゃうんだよなぁ

Austin Fernandez
Austin Fernandez

I didn't love Inside Llewyn Davis like I did the Coen's other films. The 2nd act was a bit too slow for my taste. 6/10

Ed Masley
Ed Masley

@DennisEckhoff Ha ha. I saw something that suggested the shirtless dude from "Girls" who great in the studio scene in "Inside Llewyn Davis"

Paranoid Android
Paranoid Android

@sanrleylago "Ela", se por acaso ainda não assistiu, veja, é ótimo. Ou "Nebraska", "Blue Jasmine" e "Inside Llewyn Davis".

Dan Heaton
Dan Heaton

Think I'm going to enjoy Inside Llewyn Davis the more I let it sink in, like most films by the Coen Brothers. Great music too.

Lodger X-Lodger
Lodger X-Lodger

Inside Llewyn Davis... ya that's the good stuff...Needed a Coen brothers fix... and this one does just nicely....... fb.me/2DRN2PYZd

عبدالرحمن
عبدالرحمن

مارك روفلو بدع, خاصة بالجزء الأول من الفلم, الفلم ذكرني بعض الشيء بـ Inside Llewyn Davis, لكن تفوق عليه برأيي, * ايضا ما ادري ليش مصنفR !

Jay Vidyarthi
Jay Vidyarthi

inside llewyn davis was heavy - a lonely ode to the cyclic musical soul. thanks for the reco @NeilVKidd

noah i.s. white
noah i.s. white

Watching Inside Llewyn Davis alone on a Friday night. Would I have it any other way? No.

Hyekyung Noh
Hyekyung Noh

Inside Llewyn Davis Movie CLIP - Please Mr. Kenne…: youtu.be/6WCRAuIcjsc '내가 작곡 했어'하고 답할때 저스틴 팀벌레이크 표정 ㅋㅋㅋㅋ.

Franciscan Poet
Franciscan Poet

I finally watched "Inside Llewyn Davis." I usually like the Coen Brothers, but this one was too dark for me. Well done, but not a favorite.

Krzys™
Krzys™

Rewatching "Inside Llewyn Davis" gets funnier every time.

Rodrigo Scheibler
Rodrigo Scheibler

Inside Llewyn Davis é o filme da minha vida. Sem exagero. Não é o melhor que já vi, mas é o que mais transmite minha posição no mundo.

Alex
Alex

Inside Llewyn Davis is amazing!

Katy Naylor
Katy Naylor

@dclectic New releases? Saw other two favourites w/in a week of each other: Loved Inside Llewyn Davis' evocation of 60s folk scene and >>

LewisChristopherDale
LewisChristopherDale

Come round so we can watch Inside Llewyn Davis and wish I looked like Oscar Isaac together

Maria
Maria

@JoshOfTheDead oh my this is one of my favourite bits in a film ever!!! i might as well see that inside llewyn davis film too, seems cool

Josh (on holiday)
Josh (on holiday)

...And Llewyn's cat looking out of the subway window to Marcus Mumford's duet with Oscar Isaac in Inside Llewyn Davis

Jam Batt
Jam Batt

Trying to learn the Inside Llewyn Davis songs on banjo. Not as easy as I'd hoped.

Stefanos Dandolos
Stefanos Dandolos

Το «Inside Llewyn Davis» των αδελφών Κοέν είναι ένας φόρος τιμής στην αποτυχία που κρύβουμε όλοι μέσα μας. Φα-ντα-στι-κό σινεμά!

Ashley Manhire
Ashley Manhire

Just purchased the Inside Llewyn Davis OST. Today has been a good day.

Aleyda (con ye)
Aleyda (con ye)

Ya tengo dealer de películas en mi barrio, ja. Me compré Inside Llewyn Davis.

Wim Huyghebaert
Wim Huyghebaert

Geestig begin van Inside Llewyn Davis. Spijtig genoeg las ik in de krant over zijn droevige lot...

Emilio A.
Emilio A.

I guess I really love Inside Llewyn Davis because I connect with Llewyn. Yes, I'm that fucked up. I can't get an oscar nomination. Hey-o!

Dermott Ferry
Dermott Ferry

Need to order 'Inside Llewyn Davis' on Blu-ray soon.

Martha Mukaiwa
Martha Mukaiwa

'Inside Llewyn Davis' (2013).Yes. Thank you,Joel and Ethan Coen.I was worried after 'Gambit' (2012).Really worried.

Shtako
Shtako

La banda sonora de Inside Llewyn Davis <33333

هامون
هامون

wtchg: Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

alina ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ
alina ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ

ive had the inside llewyn davis. film downloaded since july i feel like i should watch that bc faridas user

Daniel Melvill Jones
Daniel Melvill Jones

My favourite film of 2012 (or all time), MOONRISE KINGDOM, and my favourite film of 2013, INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS, are both on Canadian Netflix.

Pedro Ⓥ
Pedro Ⓥ

Marty Friedman - Saturation Point: youtu.be/eTDDblArcZw Después de escuchar a Vargas y ver Inside Llewyn Davis...esto es lo que merezco

Kelsey Hammer
Kelsey Hammer

Movies on my docket for the long weekend: To Have and Have Not (1944), Planet of the Apes (1968), Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

 

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