Inside Llewyn Davis ★★★★★

“I’m shipping out. Trying something new. I mean something old.”

My goodness. If this isn’t a perfect film, I sure don’t know what is. So incredibly melancholy, as any film about the endless cycle of longing and struggle should be, but populated by notes of grace that I find absolutely overwhelming. Its soulful, heart wrenching depiction of sorrow and spiritual toil is matched only by its incredibly deep reservoir of classical influence, making for a picture that continues to unspool as long as you care to pull. There are so many details, significant and minute, that made me fall in love with this film all over again. The way the lyrics of Llewyn’s songs gradually reveal more of his character, from the longing for escape of Fare Thee Well to the shattering despair of The Death of Queen Jane. Llewyn’s audition and subsequent condemnation at The Gate of Horn club. The thematic use of pregnancy as an image for artistic burden, and unseen birth as an unexpected harbinger of hopefulness. The treatment of Sisyphean struggle in search of transcendence that, like a folk song, is never new and never gets old.

“If I had wings...”

(The Coen Canon, 16/18)

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