23 January 2014

Review: Inside Llewyn Davis (Movie)

Inside Llewyn Davis (film)I must be on a nostalgia kick. Earlier this week I wrote about a book that takes us back to 1963 and today I'm writing about a movie that returns us to 1961. The common tie? Music.

Although I like a wide range of music, I am and always have been attracted to acoustical music, including traditional songs and much of the folk music of the sixties. When I heard that the Coen brothers' latest movie was loosely based on Dave Van Ronk's early days in the Village, I knew I had to see Inside Llewyn Davis.

After I listened to some of the soundtrack, I was already in love. Among the performers are Justine Timberlake, Marcus Mumford, Oscar Isaac, and Bob Dylan. The music ranges from classical to traditional folk, with more contemporary songs written by artists such as Tom Paxon and the Reverend Gary Davis; some pieces (I think) were written for the film.

I'm a huge fan of the Coen brothers', who have written and directed some of my all-time favorite movies (O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Fargo, No Country for Old Men, Miller's Crossing). Thus I entered the theater with high expectations.

Fortunately, the Coens didn't let me down. The movie is beautifully filmed, and the period details (cars, clothes, and so on) seemed perfect. Although Llewyn can be hard to like at times, he's young, talented, and hoping to make a living off his lifelong passion. If you have an interest in the early sixties and a love of the music, the movie is well worth your time.

As I noted, many of the details of Llewyn's experience as a budding musician in the West Village are based on Van Ronk's life (read his autobiography, Mayor of MacDougal Street; see the cover of his early album Inside Dave Van Ronk), but Llewyn seems more self-centered and less generous than Van Ronk was supposed to have been. On the other hand, the film focuses on just a few days in the life of a frustrated musician and wasn't intended to be strictly biographical.

To get a taste for the movie and the music, take a look at the trailer.


Sandy Nawrot 1/23/14, 6:58 AM  

Maybe it is just my sense of humor, or whatever, but the Coen brothers have NEVER let me down. I cannot think of one of their movies that I haven't appreciated. I've got on eyeball on Flickster for this one. They aren't showing it too many places in Orlando, and we have been focusing on Oscar noms, but we definitely intend to seek it out.

JoAnn 1/23/14, 8:30 AM  

There's only one movie theater in our area showing this one, but I really want to see it!

bermudaonion 1/23/14, 8:53 AM  

Vance and I talked about going to see this but haven't made it to the theater yet. It'll probably be gone from the theater by the time we get a chance to see it so I guess we'll have to wait for Netflix. I'm glad to see you enjoyed it.

Daryl 1/23/14, 9:15 AM  

i think this got passed over for awards because Llewyn isnt likable and i think a lot of people didnt 'get' it ... that the cat's name is Ulysses says a lot ... and i loved the .. well i wont give it away .. a good friend of Toonman's plays the club owner in Chicago ...

raveylu 1/23/14, 10:03 AM  

I want to see this so so much! But it isn't at our theater yet. This is right up my alley.

(Diane) bookchickdi 1/23/14, 10:16 AM  

I love the Coen brothers too and have heard that people either really like this movie or really did not. Glad to hear you are in the like it camp.

Beth Hoffman 1/23/14, 11:26 AM  

This is a MUST SEE for me!

Vasilly 1/23/14, 11:29 AM  

I've had my eye on this movie for sometime now. If you enjoyed it, I'm pretty sure I will too.

blog 1/23/14, 12:57 PM  

There was a lot that I loved about this movie (during the first half, I thought it might be one of my favorites of the year), but it didn't come together for me in the end. I'm neutral on the Coen Brothers in general, so I'm coming at it from a little bit of a different angle. I'm glad you loved it, though.

thecuecard 1/23/14, 9:26 PM  

I've been wanting to see this movie. I like the music from the '60s so I think it'll be right up my alley. Got to see it. Nice review thanks. http://www.thecuecard.com/

Col (Col Reads) 1/24/14, 1:22 PM  

I am dying to see this. Thanks for the great review!

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