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Movie Review: Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

This review was originally published on Yahoo! Voices.

No one can argue that the Coen Brothers are brilliant filmmakers. They have produced some of my all-time favorite movies, such as Fargo, O Brother, Where Art Thou? and True Grit. Although there was little in the trailer for Inside Llewyn Davis that interested me, I watched it, knowing that if it was a Coen Brothers film, it had to be good—but it wasn’t.

The film follows a week in the life of Llewyn Davis, played by Oscar Isaac, a folk singer struggling to make it in New York’s Greenwich Village in 1961. He bounces around from couch to couch and finds himself immersed in a string of bad luck, most of which he brings on himself.

Llewyn Davis doesn’t want to simply exist, the way his father did. He wants to be extraordinary, by expressing himself through music, without compromise. However, he is carrying the burden of the recent loss of his musical partner, and seems as though he is purposely sabotaging his solo success, out of guilt and despair. He has a special talent, but his anger and bitterness cause him to have the life of a low-life loser.

There are some moments of brilliance in the film, particularly the music, which is fantastic, especially the performances by Justin Timberlake, surprisingly. However, it drags on without much happening and it doesn’t feel authentic to the period at times. Although it appears as though this film is supposed to carry an uplifting message, it left me feeling dark and dirty.

Some films stay with you in a good way and you don’t want to stop thinking about them. This one caused me to awaken the next day with the feeling one gets after attending a party and not making it home.

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