User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 362 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 42 out of 362
Watch On

Review this movie

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling
  1. Dec 7, 2013
    10
    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 theINSIDE 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
  2. Feb 20, 2014
    10
    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
  3. Dec 11, 2013
    10
    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
  4. Dec 8, 2013
    10
    "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""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
  5. Dec 19, 2013
    8
    First of all: Don't let yourself be fooled by reviews acclaiming "I love all of their work, but this work of'em has no concluding story etc." I'd ask each and everyone of them: "Which Coen movie actually has these features?"

    For me, this movie has been great for several reasons... I really like the kind of music the movie is centered around & and I generally like the way the Coen
    First of all: Don't let yourself be fooled by reviews acclaiming "I love all of their work, but this work of'em has no concluding story etc." I'd ask each and everyone of them: "Which Coen movie actually has these features?"

    For me, this movie has been great for several reasons... I really like the kind of music the movie is centered around & and I generally like the way the Coen Brothers make their movies, not heavily focusing on a concluding story, standards or anything, but always trying to create something that will make you laugh at absurdity, as it was for me with movies like "The Big Lebowski", "Oh Brother..." or "Burn after Reading". This combined with a nice sidekick in form of a cat let me had a really nice evening enjoying this movie. I got what I expected, the 105 minutes really flew by.

    If I had to compare this one with other work of the Coen Brothers, I'd say it is somehow similar to "Oh Brother...", but with a very different setting and tone. So if you like the music & you like more movies from the Coen Brothers besides "No Country for Old Men", you shouldn't be to disappointed watching this one.
    Expand
  6. Jan 9, 2014
    10
    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.
  7. Jan 15, 2014
    10
    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 whoYeah, 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
  8. Jan 16, 2014
    9
    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.
  9. Dec 15, 2013
    10
    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 plentyI'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
  10. Dec 27, 2013
    10
    Outstanding. Inside Llewyn Davis is an intellectual, heartfelt look into a period of time long lost. One man's timeless struggles, frustrations and demons.
  11. Jan 4, 2014
    10
    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 youFor 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
  12. Jan 16, 2014
    8
    It's 1961 New York, the folk music scene was going strong, but Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) in on the weak side. He's always broke, living on friends' couches and not successful with his music. This film has some of the Coen Brothers hallmark traits: interesting characters (and some hilarious ones), deadpan humor, as well as intelligent approaches to plot, situations and people. The songsIt's 1961 New York, the folk music scene was going strong, but Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) in on the weak side. He's always broke, living on friends' couches and not successful with his music. This film has some of the Coen Brothers hallmark traits: interesting characters (and some hilarious ones), deadpan humor, as well as intelligent approaches to plot, situations and people. The songs are given extended play (with the actors singing live) and actors are all excellent. While this film is richly observed and enjoyable, it's a bit slight by Coen Brothers standards. Expand
  13. Jan 21, 2014
    9
    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 thatOnly 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
  14. Jan 16, 2014
    9
    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 toOther 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
  15. Jan 3, 2014
    10
    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.
  16. Jan 11, 2014
    10
    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!
    Expand
  17. Dec 30, 2013
    8
    Llewyn Davis, a loose take on the folk singer Dave Van Volk, will, in hindsight, not be remembered as one of the Coen brothers’ most interesting characters and neither will the movie, in which he is the eponymous protagonist. However, Inside Llewyn Davis is still another great picture by the inseparable duo that can deservedly look forward to a couple of Oscar nominations in January.Llewyn Davis, a loose take on the folk singer Dave Van Volk, will, in hindsight, not be remembered as one of the Coen brothers’ most interesting characters and neither will the movie, in which he is the eponymous protagonist. However, Inside Llewyn Davis is still another great picture by the inseparable duo that can deservedly look forward to a couple of Oscar nominations in January.

    Whether it’s the trademark cynical writing, the excellent acting throughout the cast, the bleak yet beautiful cinematography (even though it’s not Coen regular Roger Deakins this time around, but Amélie’s Bruno Delbonnel), or the perfectly done editing (reaching its pinnacle in a sort of match-cut between a man and a cat walking) this semi-musical is done flawlessly and should be a feast for connoisseurs of quality movies. Yet I can’t exclude the fact that the 105 minutes feels like a lot more than that and that the full-length folk performances popping up every now and then only increase this. That’s not an all-too-strong counterargument though, as the sheer fact that Ethan and Joel Coen succeeded in making a so heavily down-to-earth and unspectacular story into a movie that I will definitely watch some time again is enough for praise. The protagonist, as it turns out, is probably the most relatable character in the year of 2013 and seeing him perpetually fail in his attempts at becoming able to really live from his hobby gets all the more harrowing to watch through that.

    Inside Llewyn Davis is the perfect dramedy and additionally a lovely experience for fellow cat-lovers, as the tubby with the aptonym Ulysses gets more screen time to be cute than all the supporting actors. That again shows that it’s all about Llewyn and his never-ending cycle of failing, which makes the movie, despite being a step back in humour and inventiveness, a Coen number one: in the category of those of their works one can easily spend an hour thinking about.
    Expand
  18. Jan 28, 2014
    8
    [8.9] Even for a Coen Brothers film, this movie is surprisingly disjointed, and delightfully so. Pretty much every moment in this movie is memorable, and the guests the movie features are added in such a way that you wouldn't really think they had any importance to the film. The film doesn't really rely on importance to begin with, because it doesn't have a narrative or ultimate goal to[8.9] Even for a Coen Brothers film, this movie is surprisingly disjointed, and delightfully so. Pretty much every moment in this movie is memorable, and the guests the movie features are added in such a way that you wouldn't really think they had any importance to the film. The film doesn't really rely on importance to begin with, because it doesn't have a narrative or ultimate goal to support. It's essentially a cinematic documentary, which is something that only the Coen Brothers could do. The movie changes constantly and it's really impossible to lose interest. Issac also plays the likable jackass role near perfectly, and is quite convincing as a failed musician. The only flaw I see in this movie is the ending, but even that has its purpose. Llewyn Davis is an excellent, atmospheric, and beautifully detailed drama. Expand
  19. Jan 19, 2014
    9
    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
  20. Jan 19, 2014
    9
    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.
  21. Jan 10, 2014
    9
    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.
  22. Jan 17, 2014
    9
    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.
  23. Feb 5, 2014
    8
    Inside Llewyn Davis is heartfelt, memorable and enlightening; not just because it uncovers the folk scene of the 1960's that we rarely see, but because it slowly unravels the truth behind the music industry: it is not only bloody hard to make it the top, but staying there is near impossible. Though some have accused it as leaving us with no satisfying conclusion (the end is rather sudden),Inside Llewyn Davis is heartfelt, memorable and enlightening; not just because it uncovers the folk scene of the 1960's that we rarely see, but because it slowly unravels the truth behind the music industry: it is not only bloody hard to make it the top, but staying there is near impossible. Though some have accused it as leaving us with no satisfying conclusion (the end is rather sudden), they are forgetting that the Coen brother's surely never meant for it to have the cheerful climax that many films now copy. Instead, they lead us through the struggle, the pain and the anger that failure can incur on someone's life, with all aspects covered well - if not excellently - by Oscar Isaac. This is not to say that we should feel sorry for Llewyn - the Coens have presented us with a deeply immoral man here. Not only has he slept with his best friend (Carey Mulligan as Jean), but he seeks money to pay for the abortion from her current partner (Justin Timberlake as Jim, who we never really get the chance to learn about). Despite this, the film remains very likeable; for the Coens have always had a knack at keeping their audiences engaged to iniquitous characters. Jean - the aforementioned best friend of Llewyn who is played dryly yet hilariously by Mulligan - is at times a blueprint of this behaviour. Though she too made the choice to cheat on her partner, she forever blames Davis for the mistake she surely made too. However, she never fails to support him when he is desperate, and through this we get the impression that even Llewyn realises he needs her (not just music) to survive. Therefore, Inside Llewyn Davis is far from unsatisfying. Not only does it appreciate time for loneliness, failure, friendship and the power of music, it unveils a far more realistic and worthwhile tale of achieving success than perhaps many others have before it. Expand
  24. Jan 29, 2014
    9
    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.
  25. Jan 22, 2014
    9
    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 distastefulThe 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
  26. Jan 13, 2014
    7
    This was the movie I was looking forward to the most of the current highly reviewed films. The music was great and the acting was good but the plot never seemed to go anywhere. I never felt very attached to any of the characters except Llewyn and his character was kind of an ass.
    Not bad but not that great either.
  27. Dec 21, 2013
    9
    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,
    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.
    Expand
  28. Apr 5, 2014
    9
    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.
  29. Mar 12, 2014
    9
    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 theAbsolutely 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
  30. Feb 11, 2014
    8
    La prima scintilla è venuta dalla biografia di Dave Van Ronk e la parte visiva in molti esterni deve molto a ‘The freewheelin’ Bob Dylan’, ma il nuovo film dei fratelli Cohen non è la rievocazione della scena folk del Greenwich Village, bensì il ritratto di un uomo che in quella scena cerca di farsi strada. Che non sarà molto lunga, lo si capisce già dal fatto che, per le vie delLa prima scintilla è venuta dalla biografia di Dave Van Ronk e la parte visiva in molti esterni deve molto a ‘The freewheelin’ Bob Dylan’, ma il nuovo film dei fratelli Cohen non è la rievocazione della scena folk del Greenwich Village, bensì il ritratto di un uomo che in quella scena cerca di farsi strada. Che non sarà molto lunga, lo si capisce già dal fatto che, per le vie del quartiere, Davis ci passeggia con un gatto sulla spalla invece che a braccetto di Suze Rotolo: del resto è un artista appena discreto (probabilmente il treno giusto è passato quando si è suicidato Timlin, assieme al quale si esibiva come duo) e un uomo che la fortuna non dimostra di meritarsela. E’ vero che bisogna sempre fidarsi della canzone e non del cantante, ma Davis dimostra di essere un egocentrico interessato solo alla sua musica e, di conseguenza, irresponsabile nei confronti degli altri, a partire da coloro che gli offrono ospitalità nel suo vagare senza dimora: lontano dalla famiglia, dorme sul divano in questa o quella casa e ha rapporti occasionali con donne altrui che poi lo ripudiano. Il viaggio della speranza è verso Chicago, ma dopo l’impietoso giudizio dell’impresario Bob Goodman (F. Murray Abrahams in una piccola parte), Davis accetta nel suo intimo che la musica non potrà essere la sua vita: dopo l’ultimo spettacolo nel solito club, lascia il palco a chi cambierà la storia e va a espiare parte dei propri peccati nel vicolo. Il risultato è una commedia amarissima, come spesso succede nei lavori dei Coen: benché numerose siano le situazioni o le battute che strappano il sorriso e anche la risata, il sottofondo resta sempre assai triste in quella che è la narrazione di un tratto nel percorso di vita di un perdente. Con una barba che fa molto artista e stretto nella sua giacchetta perché non può permettersi un cappotto, Oscar Isaacs disegna con grande finezza un personaggio non facile, perennemente in sospeso tra le aspirazioni artistiche e la mediocrità di tutti i giorni: l’attore nato in Guatemala è praticamente sempre in scena e si districa con abilità sia sul registro drammatico, sia dal lato commedia e – oltre a dover maneggiare un gatto, animale che odia - interpreta con la giusta partecipazione le canzoni del suo personaggio (il maestro è stato il supervisore alle musiche T-Bone Burnett, i brani sono quasi tutti traditional riarrangiati). Gli altri attori finiscono per essere fatalmente di contorno, ma ciò non vuol dire che le loro prova non aggiunga valore al risultato finale: se questo è vero anche per Justin Timberlake, lo è ancora di più per Carey Mulligan (che risulta assai più carina da mora) e, soprattutto, John Goodman nella parte di un tossico musicista jazz che si diverte a massacrare a parole la musica folk (e Davis in generale) nel viaggio verso Chicago. Davvero azzeccate sono poi le facce dei personaggi di contorno, scelte con una cura davvero mirabile a partire dall’anziano discografico Mel (Jerry Grayson all’ultima apparizione) e coetanea segretaria per finire alla coppia di amici benestanti Mitch e Lillian con i relativi ospiti – i due sono i padroni del gatto che Davis si ritrova fra i piedi e al quale presta quasi più attenzioni che agli esseri umani che lo circondano. Fotografato con toni in prevalenza freddi – e opportunamente invernali – dal francese Bruno Delbonnel, ‘A proposito di Davis’ non raggiunge il livello dei migliori fra i film dei fratelli Coen (ad esempio, la trasferta in una gelida Chicago è tirata troppo per le lunghe), ma è comunque un lavoro che, seppur non facile, lascia ampiamente soddisfatti, grazie a una capacità di fare cinema subito riconoscibile nelle atmosfere come nella rappresentazione delle singole situazioni – basterebbero le inquadratura nel ristorante deserto sulla via per il Midwest o la prospettiva kubrickiana della scena nel bagno. Infine, un’annotazione curiosa: il titolo italiano non compare mai, perché quello originale si può vedere solo in una fuggevole inquadratura dell’ (invenduto) disco solista del protagonista. Expand
Metascore
92

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
    100
    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
    100
    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
    90
    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.