Inside Llewyn Davis ★★★★½

No one knows how to tug my strings quite like the Coen brothers. Comically, dramatically, absurdly; I always get what they're trying to do and they have a very high success rate.

With their latest they take us through the life of Llewyn Davis, a starving artist, and what's it's like for him in 1961, but I imagine his story has been felt across the years. Along the way he runs into many interesting and nuanced characters that only the Coen brothers could give us.

Early on with the New York scenes I was enjoying myself, but it wasn't until he took a car ride to Chicago that I really started got into the movie and connected with Llewyn and his fruitless, cynical and difficult journey. There are many great and powerful scenes from this point on, namely ones with John Goodman, a cat, and F. Murray Abraham in Chicago who he's going to perform for. I feel like the movie continued to get better even after I left the theater, which I can't tell you the last time that's happened to me where a movie stuck with me such as this one.

Then there's the amazing ending involving a brilliant cameo that really sums up his character and future, and an interesting narrative choice that I'm still pondering over. I think Jon Stewart said that he'd never seen a movie capture the struggles of a traveling, "starving" musician this well and I see what he means. You feel his pain and frustration, but with the Coen's genius talent at subtlety, we also get the little moments whether they're funny, odd, ironic, or tragic to fill in the seams and make this a complete work.

Richard liked this review