Daniel Holford’s review published on Letterboxd:
Actor Challenge - movie 22 - Carey Mulligan
“You've probably heard that one before. It's not new and it never gets old and it's a folk song.”
Can’t flaw this one, I really loved it. A brilliant look into the life of a struggling 1960s musician. Slow but really well paced, thoughtful and brilliantly directed, this might actually be my favourite Coen brothers movie I’ve seen.
Llewyn Davis is a flawed character, at times unlikeable and even crashing his own dreams through the movie. But it’s this realism that the Coen Brothers have written that makes him so compelling to watch. Add that to a fantastic performance by Oscar Isaac, and this character and his journey become so compelling. His struggles feel real, and even at his worst he becomes a sympathetic character. I’ve never been a struggling artist but somehow this movie felt so relatable and real, even without that knowledge.
New York and the places Llewyn visits al feel like their own characters. The Coen’s instil an air of bleak sadness over what is normally depicted as such a vibrant and outgoing city. It looks incredible, the shots are dark and moody but brilliantly pieces together. The score and soundtrack too, sublime.
The characters he meets on his week long journey all brilliantly written and performed. There’s great, smaller moments from Adam Driver, John Goodman and Carey Mulligan, all adding to Llewyn's story in different ways, each bringing obstacles and altering his path, mostly for the worse of his character. The dialogue feels natural and at times rather witty, even with the bleak nature of the main plot. Though it never truly detracts from this one artists struggles.
Another fantastic movie by the Coen’s, and one I’m sure to revisit in the future. Can’t recommend it enough.