Austin Gorski’s review published on Letterboxd:
"A folk singer with a cat. Are you queer?"
This was a surprise. Not because I didn't expect to like it (come on, it's the Coen Brothers), but because of how much I liked it. It felt very similar to their previous effort, A Serious Man, in that it focuses more on the main character and his actions than on a story. This film practically has no plot, but that doesn't make it bad at all. We instead focus on Llewyn, the lost and tormented man who struggles making a living in the music industry.
Oscar Isaac does a damn-fine job as the lead here, and hopefully this role gets him more gigs, because he is truly an under-appriciated actor. Carey Mulligan is also great here as one of Llewyn's "friends". She has the mouth of a sailor and made me laugh quite a few times here. Not what I was expecting from her character, but then again, it's a Coen Brothers film. I should have known that there'd be dark humor here.
But, if we're going to talk about standout performances, the best was John Goodman as the sick and mean-spirited jazz musician Ronald Turner. He was absolutley hilarious when he was insulting Llewyn and folk singing in general. Despite his limited screen time, he made the biggest impact on me. Easily one of the more intresting characters from a Coen Brothers film in a while.
Now onto the music. Oh, the music. How wonderful it all was. Going in, I had no experience with folk music at all and was one of the reasons why I was worried when it came to seeing this film. But, it turned out great. Isaac is a phenomenal singer, as are Mulligan and Timberlake, and they bring the music to life here. "Please Mr. Kennedy" has been getting all the praise as of late, but my personal favorite was the song that played at the beginning (and the end) of the film, "Hang Me, Oh Hang Me". It set the mood perfectly for the film, and hearing it at the end again was just icing on the cake.
Without a doubt, "Inside Llewyn Davis" is my favorite film to be released in 2013. It's funny, meaningful, and has one hell of a soundtrack that sets the mood perfectly. A must-see.
"If it was never new, and it never gets old, then it's a folk song."