Inside Llewyn Davis

“You often hear about directors being polarizing. Some people love them as much as others hate them. But what if they’re polarizing to you. That’s sort of how I feel about the Coens. First off, nothing but mad respect for the duo. I hear their names attached to something and I immediately take an interest. But their movies tend to be hit or miss for me. Fargo? Love Love LOVE it. A Serious Man? One of the most boring things I’ve ever sat thru (granted, I didn’t get the Job allegory). No Country for Old Men, True Grit love. Big Lebowski took some time to grow on me. Burn After Reading, huh? So let’s file Inside Llewyn Davis under snooze.

I get that it’s a character piece more than a narrative, which automatically makes it harder for me to get into (I like plot). But when your character isn’t that likeable to begin with, you’ve really got an uphill battle for my attention. The film follows a folk singer who’s recently lost his partner, trying to make it as a solo act as the scene begins its decline. He coach surfs between various friends and acquaintances, throws diva like fits over his music, and generally tends to make more enemies than friends along the way. I’m sorry, but why should I care about this guy enough to look into his life for two hours out of my day?

The music is really good. Not my style, but very well done. My college roomate, who was pretty big into that style, has been obsessing over the soundtrack, so I do have it on good authority that the music is quality. I may have iTunes-ed a song or two (I did kinda love Please Mr Kennedy but my Best Original Song money is still on Frozen’s Let it Go) but it’s not the sort of thing I would listen to regularly (unless you count what I would find the roomie playing in our room freshman year).

I did think Oscar Isaac did a fantastic job carrying the movie with authority, even if I didn’t like Llewyn himself. Carey Mulligan did deliver a spot on Coen-esque performance, even if she was even more unlikeable than Llewyn. My favorite though was original American Idiot Stark Sands in his small-ish role. Hearing him live was one of my favorite parts of seeing AI so many times on Broadway, and I’ll take any excuse to hear that voice again (even if recordings tend to not do him justice, although the Kinky Boots soundtrack did get him better than AI, but I’m digressing).

I wonder if much of the buzz the movie is getting is just because people blindly love the Coens or if it simply wasn’t for me. Hopefully their next one will put us back in the plus column.

Inside Llewyn Davis – \m/ \m/

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