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Generally favorable reviews- based on 319 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 42 out of 319

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  1. Jul 26, 2014
    Delightful and dark. Perfect shots and imperfect, albeit highly memorable, characters. That's the Coens for you. Every frame oozes confidence. And why shouldn't they be confident? I'm pretty sure they can do anything. Except fail, that is. I'm also fairly confident that if anybody else had directed this it would've turned out somewhat mediocre. The brothers' mastery of craft, command of tone, as well as their playfulness - all of it makes up for a plot as meandering as their roaming protagonist. Expand
  2. Jul 6, 2014
    The Most Brutally Honest Artists' Statement in Modern Cinema

    I think the Coen brothers' most profound gift is their ability to translate any message, text, or emotion to film. To me, INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS is so special because of its brutal honesty of what it looks like, for most people, to pursue your artistic dream. And it's a damn shame. We see people come and go every day with the
    talent of Llewyn Davis, the titular character at the heart of the film, but through a very distinctly Coen combination of situation, lack of luck, and very particular misjudgments throughout the course of his life prevent him from ever reaching the reputation he may or may not have deserved (but could very well have reached it under different circumstances, which is the larger point).

    Oscar Isaac completely disappears into his performance as Llewyn Davis, someone who may appear as a very average person in the streets of New York who has as many dreams and ambition as anyone else. But he's not a perfect person — he doesn't have the foresight or moral flexibility it might have taken for him to have made a more comfortable living out of the passion of his life. Oscar is able to wear this character like a perfectly fit glove, but he made it fit; years from now, people will be wondering why he wasn't aptly recognized for this work in his own time. The performance itself is an intricate, if modest, masterpiece.

    Another strength of the Coens' is their ability to bring out the best of their cinematographers. The camerawork from Bruno Delbonnel will, at any given moment, visually clue the audience into the place, position, and state of mind into this central character's mindset through color, focus, framing, and detail. Cinema is, first and foremost, a visual medium; and, as such, both Joel and Ethan Coen know what director of photography to trust most to convey the thousands of words they have to say with each frame.

    Finally, what makes this more than a worthy look is the work of Mr. T-Bone Burnett himself. The soundtrack of this film is easily the best in the world of music in its year and helps this film to transcend into a world of poetic irony that has little else but the decibel of its own understated 60s-era East Village earnestness to cry out with.

    The Coen brothers themselves tend to seem like shy and introverted individuals. And it's only them who could have painted such a rich and painfully honest portrait with the very artistry they excel at. This is a look at art that crosses every possible medium. The Coens are asking us, "how many geniuses have slipped through the crack? What kind of beauty has been made in any field that I've never been privileged enough to experience? Are we ever really at the ends of the spectrum of possibility of the art we so enjoy to indulge in when such brilliant voices can never quite break through?" It's almost a message of humility — that their ability to tell this man's story is the minimum they can offer back to their audiences for the good fortune they themselves have had to be able to tell such stories in the first place. And, appropriately, they've crafted a film that wasn't properly appreciated by their own successful peers in its own time. The truthful tone will turn many audiences off from its message, but INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS is one of the most essential film offerings of the new millennium thus far.
  3. Jul 3, 2014
    After seeing claptrap like the recent Transformers movie, what a joy it was to see this film. To me, this wasn't about the folk scene in the 1960's; it was biting social commentary on success in America. The Coens message is that sometimes the talented and best don't prevail. If you ever wonder why the talentless hacks make it in whatever field, watch this movie. Very entertaining, could not stop watching it. Beautifully shot, and the music was great too. I don't get the negative reviews for this film. This is complex storytelling and its not meant for people who need immediate gratification or everything spelled out for them. Expand
  4. May 11, 2014
    My Inside Llewyn Davis review

    Telling the downspiraling story of a struggling folk performer, Inside Llewyn Davis manages to charm it´s audience and give them something to meditate in the following days.

    The one that makes the movie work in every way and is the essencial part of the movie is the one and only Oscar Isaac. After this film I decided I absolutely respect this man. Not
    only for his amazing performance as an actor, as he perfectly plays the conflicted and subtly funny character the bros wrote for him, but as a folk performer who hits every emotional note as he sings. Another thing is that the songs where filmed live by the Coen Brothers and that peaks the challenge for Oscar Isaac just to the point to be amazed.
    While the other actors are bypassing side-characters (except for Carrey Mulligan who is more present than the others) all of them manage to play their roles pretty awesomely and feel like Joel and Ethan Coen picked them very specifically for the characters they wrote, as every one of them understands how they must play their figure so that the subtle comedy can work. This film showed us the ability that the Coen Bros posess to write original characters.
    The dialogue was fun to watch as you always expected a dose of crude humour to suddenly pop up. And that´s another aspect that was handeled pretty good. The humour in the movie is very subtle, natural but never over used, and it comes mainly from the dialogue and the performances who hit every humorous note needed.
    Scene selection is something that the Coen Bros excell at, and now that folk song selection is their thing too. These songs fit the mood of the movie perfectly which is bleak but at the same time sympathetic. And plus the beautiful photografy this is a well done package.
    Beeing said, this movie isn´t a cheerful one. Llewyn takes quite a life beeting in many scenes and it may be a little melancholic for some viewers.But it knows it´s themes and works with them in such a way that you won´t get this film out of your head in a few nights.
    I just said that because this movie is deeper than just simply Llewyn´s journey this movie has metaphors and symbolism in it that won´t be easy to find but movie lovers will love to dig through the internet for answers. And that will be a gripe for some too. Many will feel confused becasue they just wanted to watch a fun movie or just sit back, relax and look at some meaningless **** (I sometimes like doing that too).
    So in the end, great movie, amazing music, great actingm, an awesome pretext for making your brain hurt by analyzing it but clearly not aimed at the general audience.
    I am giving Inside Llewyn Davis a 9/10.
    Check my other reviews at
  5. May 8, 2014
    One of the most sad but at the same time honest films I have ever watched. The storytelling is flawless, the casting is superb, everything you could expect from a Coens production.
  6. May 1, 2014
    All this movie does is a great puzzle for you to assemble, feels like there's not plot at all, but there's more plot that you think. Joel and Ethan Coen had delivered us another great (not surprising) film, that is yet to be recognised, but it feels like the Coen Bros. are loosing magic, but they're still making powerful movies.
  7. Apr 5, 2014
    Soul. This flick just has it--along with a character whose general demeanor seemed almost painfully familiar to me until I realized that I sometimes make eye contact with him in the mirror. Funny, dark, bright, strange, haunting, and many other adjectives that I'm too lazy to type. Seriously good stuff here. Come for the music. Stay for the cat joke.

    P.S.: **** critics...and groupies. Peace.
  8. Mar 26, 2014
    Inside Llewyn Davis is getting a lot of smuck from audiences for being too boring. It is very subtle and doesn't have an extensive plot, so if that bothers you don't watch it. What it is, is a character study that explores what it's like to be a struggling musician in a what appears to be a dying genre (at the time). I quite enjoyed the film. Oscar Isaac's performance was superb, most notably his musical talent. It's really quite beautiful how much we learn about Davis in a one week period. It might seem like a bit of a downer, but Inside Llewyn Davis is a human experience that reminds us of that passion and talent isn't always recognized. Expand
  9. Mar 12, 2014
    Absolutely beautifully shot. The Coen brothers certainly show that they have mastered using the camera to capture the bleak feeling that this movie has. That being said the film still manages to be funny at multiple times and it is filled with good music. Oscar Isaac does a great job as Llewyn and the entire cast supports him marvelously. The only real problem with the film is the ambiguity of the ending. It ends and you end up asking yourself whether the ending made it more philosophical or just gave it a feeling of being unfinished. Expand
  10. Mar 8, 2014
    A story of a man simply trying to start, not necessarily finish, and encountering problems along the way. The Coen brothers are still filmmakers that expose brutal honesty and realism to their films, only this time they do not add the level of comical violence. Just the story of an artist trying not to get back on his feet, but simply to stand up, and yes, I know I've just repeated myself. Oscar Isaac is a new talent as this man who we both feel both pity and disdain for. The cinematography, the soundtrack, everything fits with the time and era of the film. Expand
  11. Feb 20, 2014
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Extremely deep and beautiful movie. Coen brothers are very very brilliant and witty in their scenes and dialogues. An unconventional and really intelligent story about a precise historical period which was very interesting. Before Bob Dylan. "Inside Llewyn Davis" has beautiful and characteristic colours. Coen brothers are great film directors, they are unique. You have to see this movie, it is one of the most beautiful movie of 2013/2014. It's unconventional and very very nice. Expand
  12. Feb 13, 2014
    This really is a delightful gem of a film with a unique and beautifully rendered screenplay that is performed to joyful perfection by a talented cast. Oscar Isaac plays the titular Llewyn Davis, a struggling folk singer, who may not be all that likeable a character, but is certainly very engaging to watch. This is one of the Coens best pictures to date, one to stand alongside 'Blood Simple' and 'Fargo', and a real surprise. Some lovely songs permeate the film adding to the hypnotic like hold it exudes. It is also beautifully shot with some well lit cinematography particularly in the club and during the road trip scenes in the second half. Carey Mulligan and John Goodman are amongst those etching out well drawn characters in small parts. Another great performance is given by a particularly obedient ginger Tom who doesn't seem to have any fear of the New York underground system. This is that rare beast, a film that gets better the more you reflect on its nuances. Expand
  13. Jan 29, 2014
    If you like bleak, grey, then this is for you, wonderful movie. Sometimes a film comes along that makes you smile all the way through even if its dark. Coen Bros films do that to me, don't know why ! Maybe I'm just as sad as the characters. Wonderful music, fantastic pace, interesting characters. Loved it.
  14. Jan 22, 2014
    The Coen brothers return with 'Inside Llewyn Davis'; a bleak character study that is one of their finest efforts, without trying too hard. The film treks a week in the life of the titular character, Llewyn Davis; a folk musician struggling to make it in the business despite undeniable talent. Llewyn navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961, and encounters many distasteful characters from his life (not that he's a charmer, himself). Without being able to plan for the future or face his past (such as the suicide of his musical partner) the man lives in the now. With no where to go and nothing to fall back on, his life seems to be headed in a vicious circle; and the Coens smartly structure their movie to resemble this dilemma. The Coens are master screenwriters; and there dense existential screenplay on this picture is a testament to that. Though craft a handsome looking film with the help of Bruno Delbennel's desaturated cinematography, and those authentic costumes and sets. The man a the centre of it all, Oscar Isaac, does a great job at playing Llewyn Davis; a character who we couldn't help but root for despite all his bad qualities. His brooding presence and his delivery of those wonderful folk tunes, was a delight to watch. Unfortunately, similar to the hero of this story, the film is quite underrated; but, I see it shining years from now. Like folk music itself, this gem just feels timeless. Expand
  15. Jan 21, 2014
    Only the Coen Brothers can take such an unlikeable main character and make a completely watchable, entertaining film. I loved almost the entire film with the exception of the road trip featuring John Goodman and his "partner". Those characters came across as kind of creepy instead of funny and didn't really add anything to the film. Other than that, the film had a lot of scenes that made me think of the film long after I left the theater. I had never heard of Oscar Isaac before this film, but he is totally believable as a frustrated, gifted musician who makes one bad decision after another. The movie is simply a week or so in a folk singer's life in the early 1960's, and how some struggling musicians lived and survived in the New York Bohemian scene. It also reminded me a little of the documentary "20 Feet From Stardom" that focused on the mystery of why some talented people never become stars despite having obvious talent. Loved the black and white photography and I really appreciate the Coen Brothers for thinking outside the box on some of their camera shots. Overall, definitely one of my favorite films of the year. Expand
  16. Jan 19, 2014
    Another masterpiece from the Coens. Although I disagree with critics hailing it as one of their best, this still is a great film that shows the struggle to survive in our world. Finely done and perfectly crafted. HUGE Oscar snub.
  17. Jan 19, 2014
    Another strong showing by the Coen Brothers. The Coen's know how to start a film by making you feel lost but by the end your totally on board and are completely satisfied. Also this is a great soundtrack. A
  18. Jan 17, 2014
    I love the Coen Brothers, and this movie is no exception, the atmosphere is great, the acting is great, I just gained a lot of respect from Oscar Issac, he is truly a great actor, this movie is one of the best of this year.
  19. Jan 16, 2014
    Other than the two German women talking through half of the movie, I found myself really liking Inside Llewyn Davis. I felt like it was a good example about how life was like in 1960s Greenwich Village for a struggling musician. Throughout the film you will learn a lot about the main character, his struggles and what his song mean to him. A nice plus to the movie was how the actors had to learn the songs before they filmed the movie; you have no idea how much that bugs me when you see an actor misplaying a note. The hot button issue with this movie seems to be people saying that you only liked it or didn’t like it because your preference on Folk music. Granted if you don’t like Folk Music (e.g. musician like Bob Dylan) you might want to skip this one, but if you like or can even tolerate Folk music there a lot more to this film for you to enjoy. Expand
  20. Jan 16, 2014
    The saddest movie I've seen this year also has a couple of the funniest one-liners. The Coens are probably the only directors working today that could pull that off, and they continue to have my deep respect. Oscar Isaac and John Goodman were also majorly snubbed for Oscar nominations.
  21. Jan 15, 2014
    Yeah, so this movie doesn't have much a plot. Don't let that prevent you from seeing it. One of the Coens' finest. A gloomy and real character piece is what it is. Llewyn Davis is one of the most complex original characters that the Coens have dreamed before, and what a performance by Oscar Isaac. Please, don't go into this movie expecting a formulaic plot about a lucky musician who strikes it big. You won't get that, the Coens can't let you off that easily. Another masterpiece by some of the greatest American filmmakers ever and my personal favorite film of 2013. Must see. Expand
  22. Jan 11, 2014
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I have a certain opinion about this movie that I think differs from most reviews I 've read(although there was a review by David Kempler that I totally agree with).Well my opinion is that, odd as it seems, by considering the movie a great one and by supporting its greatness with the evidence of the story's moral (the talented artist that goes uncredited forever), you don't really appreciate what this movie is about.I have to admit that while watching it I was not satisfied either with the script or with the way it was filmed, not to mention my aversion towards many of the songs (but I guess this is a matter of taste).However, I keep thinking about the movie three days now and I feel that it haunts me much more than movies I've recently enjoyed a lot while watching.Why is that so? I think Inside Lllewyn Davis is a key to the cinema of Cohen brothers, a movie that enlightens the elements that make their movies special, and these elements, as is usually the case, have to do with a certain philosophy that transcends the movies and their particular stories and instead becomes the real center of their work(as expressed by the way they elaborate every story they touch into a kind of a myth with certain characteristics). To get started, I would say that the first thing to notice is that the cinema of the Cohens is a cinema of ambivalence. Take Inside Llewyn Davis for example: I believe that the way the songs are treated in this movie leaves for the spectator to decide whether they are mediocre or the work of a genius;the way the songs of Llewyn Davis are treated by the people in the movie adds to this ambivalence;we hear that they won't bring money, that he should get back to his duet work, we see people very satisfied with the songs(at the club, for instance)-but they seem to get satisfied with almost anything -and we know that Llewyn believes in the potential of his songs, but not consistently and anyway they are his songs and this is what happens inside him.On the other hand, success could then be counted only in terms of making money, of being commercial,leaving the question of what real art is in suspense.This kind of suspense lies in the heart of the movies of Cohens, I believe.And also, what else lies in the heart of their films, I see clearly here, is that the main character is to be forever damned, forever excluded from the possibility of self fulfilment, no matter how closely he comes to it. Llewyn Davis, no matter how much he strives, has no chance(the guy with the costume that awaits for him is not the Times guy we've been expecting to change his luck but one who wants to beat him up, and for good reasons;the girl he's in love with, although ambivalent towards him, won't ever conclude she's choosing him no matter how much we expect it to be so; when a chance to meet his child comes out of the blue, and we expect him to change direction, he won't take it, and although it might not change anything, his inability to act makes it seem like one more lost chance;and,perhaps most of all, in a moment of stress, he will leave the cat behind, closing his eyes to the begging of the more human of his companions to this road to hell on earth.Llewyn Davis is, in other words, doomed;and he's doomed in the way Barton Fink was(perhaps the character that is closer to him in the Cohen's universe),
    So what's the moral?what do we get from all these?NOTHING as the Hulla-hoop man would say;at the end there is no point and no reason, no nothing except for a certain situation in which the main characters of the movies get lost-and loose themselves-within. Inside Llewyn Davis is the slow torture of a man in a world where he thinks he is someone and he deserves better , when the truth is he's no one and he deserves nothing;like the rest of us.I guess that's the reason the movie haunts me three days now;not the most enjoyable Cohens' movie, I believe, but one of their most successful after all, if we should count success by what a work of art imposes on the spectator as a human being overall. Perception is self centered on its basis and we always forget this but in the greatest moments of cinema the lonely doomed heroes (Polanski's ghost writer and many others, Snake Plissken, John Trent, Gilderoy of Berberian sound studio, just to name a few) tend to remind us of that;and to let us have a glimpse into the human condition naked-the way perhaps madness does-or this can only be a point of view( of mine) and beyond that there lies the valley of everything(and nothing).Good night!
  23. Jan 10, 2014
    A beautiful film with wonderful acting, and for those who have an interest in the folk scene in New York in the 1960's, its certainly a dream come true. Additionally, John Goodman, gives one of the best performances of his career.
  24. Jan 9, 2014
    I feel like what the Coen Brothers did in this was aim at striking a very delicate cord of: not everyone becomes a star. That harsh can really slap you in the face sometimes, and that darkness and that attempt to turn your shoulder away from that is something that the Coen's know how to illustrate. Great film.
  25. Jan 4, 2014
    For all over the fake fans who so boldly claim they're "true" Coenn brothers fans you would know they always leave plot holes and rarely finish plot points. If you truly are a fan of the Coenn brothers you will love this. That being said this is one of their best works yet, every thing about it is amazing. One second it will have you on the verge of depression yet the next it will have you laughing your ass off. So please don't listen to the on this post who are giving this terrible reviews just for attention, go see it. You won't regret it. Expand
  26. Jan 3, 2014
    Mighty river
    runs muddy and wild,
    can't care the bloody
    for my unborn child.
    Fare thee well, my honey,
    fare thee well.

    Number nine train
    done no harm,
    number nine train,
    take my poor baby home.
    Fare thee well, my honey,
    fare thee well.
  27. Jan 3, 2014
    A gorgeous, somber, slowly paced moving work of filmmaking written to polarize and sadden. A wholehearted tribute to folk music and the many talented who didn't quite have a place in the world.
  28. Dec 27, 2013
    Outstanding. Inside Llewyn Davis is an intellectual, heartfelt look into a period of time long lost. One man's timeless struggles, frustrations and demons.
  29. Dec 21, 2013
    For those of you who are considering seeing this movie, a few thoughts:
    -From my point of view, the user-reviewers who didn't like it missed out on the subtleties and complexities of character and tone. A movie's not obliged to follow the same form as most, or tell a story we've heard before.
    -There's odd, dry humor that percolates through it, as you might expect from the Coen brothers,
    but this is their more serious side.
    -Unlike many of their other movies, this has a more sincere warmth to go with the darkness, the oddness, and the intelligence.
    -It's a rich, sad, dark winter's tale. It's the kind of stiff drink of storytelling that would not be out of place in the Bible or Gilgamesh or other classic literature. It's about a man stuck in a time and place and manner of being, as he hits up against the limits of what is possible for him, and often is his own worst enemy.
    -See this when you are in the mood for more nutritious entertainment, and feel free to give yourself just enough distance from the main character that you can have a good look at what makes him human.
    -The music is great, and it's all live performances.
  30. Dec 15, 2013
    I've been a huge Coen Brothers fan for a long time, my favorites being Fargo and A Serious Man. I think this might be their best film yet. The writing is just incredible, the songs, the music, the acting, the cinematography all flawless. No one makes movies like them, so unique and inspiring, heartbreaking and honest. I was blown away by Oscar Isaac, his performance will garner plenty of awards. This movie is a masterpiece. Expand
  31. Dec 11, 2013
    The coens are back inside llewyn davis is a powerful,emotional with coens directing which might be a Oscars winning movie in what ever category with oscar issac delivering a career best performance and the music score that touches your heart and fills it with emotions that cuts right through the movie
  32. Dec 8, 2013
    "Inside Llewyn Davis" is a masterly work of exquisite beauty, rigorous discipline, and supreme confidence. The Coens have purged the violence of "Blood Simple," "Miller's Crossing," and "No Country for Old Men," the jokiness of "Raising Arizona," the grotesquery of "Barton Fink," the college-dorm philosophizing of "The Big Lebowski" and "A Serious Man," the cornball regionalism of "Fargo" and "O Brother, Where Art Thou"--in short, all of their trademarks as filmmakers--and the result? With all those crutches kicked away, this movie levitates in mid-air, as perfect as a pearl, priceless, graspable, mysterious, layered, aglow. It demands to be seen in a theater, in the dark, with an audience that erupts in laughter, then lapses in rapt silence. With Woody Allen's "Manhattan," and William Friedkin's "The French Connection," it is also that rare cinematic portrait of New York worthy of its subject. Expand
  33. Dec 7, 2013
    INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS is a feat of filmmaking, taking the gentle strains of folk music and revealing it for the revolutionary act that it is. Not just because it has been the soundtrack of many social movements, but of personal ones, too. Oscar Isaac as Llewyn is revelatory, a bone-tired, supremely talented man whose passion for making music is struggling mightily against the whims of the industry and his demons one being the loss of his musical partner to suicide. When Isaac sings, we're transported first to the dusky bars of 1960s West Village and, more important, to the jungle of discouragement and confusion he's living in. It's a powerful performance. Supporting him is a great ensemble, some new to the Coen Brothers family (Timberlake, thankfully subdued and nearly holding his own against the others) and some beloved veterans (Goodman). It's not just Isaac and the cast, though, that makes Inside Llewyn Davis remarkable. The music, with T-Bone Burnett in charge of the soundtrack, takes its rightful place front and center. And the Coens tell the story in a clever, elliptical way that drives home the futility and magic of a time. But it's not all sadness and tears. The Coens' singular humor runs a streak through the entire enterprise. Go see it. Expand

Universal acclaim - based on 47 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 47 out of 47
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 47
  3. Negative: 0 out of 47
  1. Reviewed by: Philip Kemp
    Jan 21, 2014
    The Coen brothers on top sardonic form with a winning tale of an incorrigible loser. Hits the right note on every level, from period vibe to performance (human and feline).
  2. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Jan 9, 2014
    The Coens fashion an atmospheric descent for Llewyn, a meticulous re-creation of Greenwich Village's folk scene in 1961, around the time Bob Dylan hit town.
  3. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Dec 23, 2013
    This is one of the strangest yet most satisfying movie experiences of the year, one of those films in which you can’t really appreciate what you’ve seen until it’s over. You just have to trust that the trip is worth the trouble. And it is.