Thoughts on thoughts and images of beautiful things

Inside Llewyn Davis



Is it possible to like a movie even if virtually all of the characters are unlikeable? Yes, and the movie is Inside Llewyn Davis. The main character, Llewyn, although callous most of the time, does show a glimmer of emotion mainly when it comes to one thing – the cat for which he unwillingly becomes responsible. Even when it comes to his music, which is his great passion and the focus of the film, he does not seem as moved by it as he does by the cat. There are many unlikeable characters in the film: Jean, the girl who Llewyn perhaps impregnated and perhaps not, whose character seems underdeveloped and repetitively irritating with her criticisms of Llewyn, Roland, the grossly overweight pimp-like character with whom Llewyn rides across the country in a car, Mel Novikoff, his agent who doesn’t even believe in him, and Pappi, the owner of the bar where Llewyn often plays. There are, however, some likable characters too but they have less significant roles and therefore don’t have much of an impact on the film – Jim, Jean’s husband, who is innocent and sympathetic, Al Cody, who is also sympathetic as he takes Llewyn in for a night or two, and Mr. and Mrs. Gorfein, the parents of his deceased music partner who own the cat that Llewyn inadvertently becomes in charge of. The film definitely has a sombre tone to it, and if you’re a cat lover, the cats’ fate is very sad. Llewyn’s quest for success in his music career doesn’t go too well for him and his desperate way of life is appropriate for a struggling artist or musician’s way of life. The soundtrack is excellent and completely captures the 60’s folk music scene.   Despite the film’s mournful resonance, Llewyn’s apathetic character really works and it is Coen brothers classic.

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