Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake and John Goodman in the latest by Joel and Ethan Coen.
The story follows a week in the life of a young folk singer (Isaac) navigating the Greenwich Village folk scene of the early 1960s and battling against his frustrations with the business as well as the New York winter.
The Coens are adept at creating a world in every movie they make, and “Inside Llewyn Davis” is no different. Capturing the pre-Dylan folk scene in New York, the film can be as grim and cold-hearted as the winter landscape it lives in. Oscar Isaac’s performance as Llewyn is perfect, walking the fence finely between a completely narcissistic and deeply empathetic and misunderstood. Davis proves to be a film about how we deal with a dream that becomes a job–and with the side story of a deceased partner–how one man tries to make it on his own without his support system.
The film is funny, enjoyable and often sad. There’s a sense of inevitability pervading through it that can make it tragic but there’s also so many little flourishes of humor and loveliness that ultimately makes the film feel balanced. The music is phenomenal and engaging, the performances are wonderful and the cinematography is beautiful. While this Coen brothers feature may not be trying to say anything other than telling the story of a man during a specific time, it doesn’t have to. That story is good enough on its own.
Inside Llewyn Davis is now playing in select theaters.