Thomas Ringdal’s review published on Letterboxd:
Sometimes I struggle to put into words excactly why it is I like this and that film.
Llewyn Davis was one of those nights, and I'm sitting here, 5 days later, still struggling to string enough sentences together to make sense of it.
A starting point could be to point out my fellow "watchee's" problems with it. He cited the protagonist's antagonistic behaviour as being a problem for him, as well as choices made, where different routes chosen would be benefitial to himself as well as the viewer, not to mention the fact he felt they made Llewyn choose poorly for the sake of continuing a downward spiral.
For me, the protagonist doesn't have to be all that likeable, as long as the end result is cohesive and competent, and ILD definitely is. Unlike much else I've seen from the Coens, but it does have some relation to A Serious Man at least.
What we see when we look inside Llewyn is an artist lost in a commercial world, struggling to make sense of it, as well as keep hold of a career in the marginalized folk genre, where money in itself never before was the be all end all.
His choices, to me, make perfect sense, he refuses to sell out, as well as the shadow of his late partner looming over the dark parts of his soul, compromising his endeavors.
The Coens spruce up the story with Oscar Isaac interpreting actual folk songs, and the musical numbers are definitely the most beautiful parts of the film (I'm sorry Carey), with Fare The Well especially lingering on in my mind ever since.
ILD is definitely Oscar Isaac's shining hour, and bound to propel him into the limelight, figuring in almost every single frame of the film. Standouts from the crew supporting him are Carey Mulligan, offering up a new side to her, and providing Llewyn with some much needed grounding.
ILD is beautifully filmed, and performed, but could use a bit more humour, and a couple of the directing choices made little sense to me.