Josh Browning’s review published on Letterboxd:
For people not familiar with being a musician, or having not ever lived in that lifestyle, this movie may just seem like a mediocre drama. A film of no substance and a portrait of a highly unlikable character. But for me, a person who has been in the lifestyle, tried make it in a world full of other and better musicians, and had instances in life worthy of calling my lowest of lows, this film spoke to me on a level like no other. The Coen Brothers broke my fucking heart with Inside Llewyn Davis. This film shook me to my core and left me in a state of awe like no other film in 2013! This film connects to me on the highest of personal levels.
First there is Llewyn Davis. A very unlikeable character, with a tortured soul but a heart of gold. I know Llewyn. Not personally but he is me, he is my friends, he is a slew of people that I know or have know throughout my life. I can sympathize with Llewyn even though he is unlikeable, I like him, no I love him. I want to see him succeed in the best of ways, even though he is a dick.
Then there is the music. I love folk music. I have played many different styles of music in my life but folk music is the most personal and universal style. It connects with all people. T Bone Burnett has written some outstanding songs for this film. There are songs that made me happy, made me laugh, and made me weep. There is a song called "Queen Jane" that has to be one of the saddest songs I've ever heard. "Please Mr. Kennedy" is a catchy, silly, pop song that gets stuck in your head on the first listen. Much of that has to do with Adam Driver's performance. He is becoming a favorite of mine and he has a presence that is out of this world.
Lastly is Llewyn's journey, and the cat. It has such a metaphorical presence throughout the film, and you could have so many different interpretations. The cat is Llewyn, the cat is success, the cat is life, it is whatever we want it to be. I love that I will watch this film many times and possibly have a different idea of what this film means or stands for every time! The people Llewyn meets and what they represent to him is another side of that.
Saying this movie is the best film of 2013 is not fair. Because we as independent being have our own opinions, emotions, and interpretations, for what is the best of...well, anything. But I can honestly say in my opinion, and with my interpretations, and how this movie made me emote, it is by far my favorite film of 2013. It came in at the latest possible moment, but it hit me like a ton of bricks, and I can't wait to watch this film again and again. Thank you Joel and Ethan Coen, your film spoke to me!