“Inside Llewyn Davis” follows a week in the life of a young folk singer in the 1960s.
Llewyn Davis, played by Oscar Isaac, is a couch-surfing, traveling musician trying to navigate his way through the competitive folk music scene in his time. As he fights for his chance to share his voice with the world, Dacis is difficult character who is hard to love. He makes poor choices and seems to lack responsibility in his life. It’s a wonderful creation of the character that offers insight into a changing time in our history.
During his travels and travails, Llewyn encounters people ranging from the genuine (his singing friends Jim and Jean, played by Justin Timberlake and Carey Mulligan) to the absurd ( John Goodman). A cat also travels with Llewyn — at least until he can return him or her to the owner. All of these encounters feel normal and real, adding interesting levels to this character’s life.
Isaac’s richly matured tone is so soothing and authentic, it’s one of the year’s finest performances by any actor. Issac, Mulligan, Timberlake and other musical performers in this movie showcase their talents of combining music and acting. Timberlake in particular shows a different side of his voice while performing in the low-lit Manhattan folk cafes.
I still can’t quite contemplate how “Please Mr. Kennedy” did not earn a Best Original Song nomination at the Academy Awards. The cinematography (which was nominated for) is superb. The film takes place during a long and dreary winter and the cinematography gives the film a bleak, cold and depressing look which really enhances the mood and tone the film strives toward. Also, the Coen Brothers’ attention to detail and production design by Jess Goncher give the film a realistic look and truly takes you back to the year of 1961 whether it’s in a bar on the road or in a music studio you will feel like you are in the folk music scene of 1961.
Overall, the film completely, totally and incredibly captures the days of soulful music, cigarette cafes and wandering musicians. In final word, if you love the Coen Brothers or folk music, I highly suggest you see Inside Llewyn Davis, an excellent, unforgettable and funny comedy-drama that is the Coen Brothers at their best.