Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)




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The Coen brothers brought Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver together two years before J.J. Abrams in Star Wars. This movie has the Coen shine to it, so that may help you decide to watch it or not without further discussion. This movie also features at least two cats. Much like Can You Ever Forgive Me, the cats are a wonderful addition to the movie.

Llewyn Davis, Oscar Issac, is a newly solo folk singer-songwriter living in 1960s New York City. He is full of wanderlust and has made many life choices to avoid putting down roots. He has no home of his own and over a week in this movie, sleeps in three different people’s apartments. One is Jean and Jim’s. Jim is played by Justin Timberlake. Jean is played by Carey Mulligan and she is fantastic. Jean and Llewyn have a history that plays well throughout the film.

Llewyn agrees to pay for Jean’s abortion because she isn’t sure if Llewyn or Jim is the father. This opens another door to reveal that Llewyn likely has a two-year-old child in Ohio. Llewyn’s wanderlust takes him through Ohio but he decides not to try and contact his child. Instead of possibly becoming part of his child’s life, he intends to head out onto the open seas as a merchant marine. The career choice to be either a musician or a merchant marine furthers the character development that he never wants to put down roots.

Llewyn spends a night at the Gorfein’s house on the upper east side. They are a combination of patrons, folk music enthusiasts, and surrogate parents for Llewyn. We get a general sense that Llewyn’s relationship with his biological parents is not good. The Gorfein’s are very happy to have Llewyn stay with them as well as feed him anytime he rings their door bell. It is an interesting relationship that is effectively communicated in a few short scenes.

Llewyn is a victim of circumstances, but he is also a self-saboteur. It is a vicious circle only made worse by no level of stability in his life. The one week we spend with Llewyn is fascinating despite it not being out of the ordinary. A few new pieces of information are revealed to him, but he changes direction like a leaf in the wind as you would expect in any given week.

This movie has left me pondering for a few days. It did not make me contemplate my own life like other movies. In a time when some of us need to escape our heads, this is a great place to visit. The Coen brothers regularly deliver a solid product, and this is no exception. Go and get lost Inside Llewyn Davis.

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©2019 by Sean Whitehurst