Kat’s review published on Letterboxd:
Inside Llewyn Davis is a strange film. It's by the Coen bros, best known for films like The Big Lebowski, bigger films, funnier films, films that aren't drenched in melancholy. Inside Llewyn Davis is as erratic as a man forever trapped in a cycle can be - it jumps around and takes you places you won't expect, but it never stops being dedicated to the same feelings Llewyn feels right at the start. It's a film about honestly, about grief, about selling out, about money, about friends who don't put up with your shit and friends that always will, about art, about loneliness.
I'm listening to Oscar Isaac covering Bon Iver, trying to maintain some of the feelings that this film gave me. Llewyn Davis is an asshole, but he's also deeply sympathetic. He fucks up, and gets knocked down and knocks himself down, and he doesn't get up because he wants to or even because he needs to. When Carey Mulligan's character tells him angrily that he likes living the way he does, there's an element of truth to it. He's a struggling folk singer, and technically homeless, but he won't take a chance to make it commercially because he wants to live by his own rules. The film is grey because that's how Llewyn sees his life, and maybe it's kind of shitty but it's also authentic, and why suffer for less than authentic? At least be miserable and real instead of miserable and a faker.
The movie isn't boring though, or overwhelmingly sad. It does have laughs in it. Oscar Isaac is perfectly cast - and incredibly deadpan, and the humour of the film comes from his great reactions. The thing is, it's a film stuck in the shadow of suicide, and that does tend to put a dampener on things. "I'm so tired," says Llewyn. "I thought I just needed a good night's sleep but it's more than that." All I can say to that is, me too. This review's a mess but this film is excellent, and I can't wait to rewatch it, and I might just go watch something a bit more cheerful or a bit scarier or just a bit less raw to get me out of this all too alluring feeling of artistic sadness.