Inside Llewyn Davis 2013

Critics score:
93 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: The brothers have created a character who's hard to love and a bit of a chore to invest in for an hour and 45 minutes. Like the old songs in his repertoire, he's familiar, not new, but he quickly gets old and tiresome. Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: It's a hell of a mix of tones, but that's the challenge the Coens' movies pose: How do we reconcile their cheerfully disparate impulses? (Do we need to? We need to try.) Read more

Kyle Smith, New York Post: A bleak but lovely little parable about the failure of a Greenwich Village folk singer in the weeks before Bob Dylan hits town and Everything Changes. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: The film's centerpiece is Mr. Isaac's phenomenal performance. Read more

Paul de Barros, Seattle Times: It's about a sensitive, confused young man in desperate pain, negotiating an identity crisis during an important moment in American cultural history. Read more

Andrew O'Hehir, "Inside Llewyn Davis" is one of the Coens' richest, strangest and most potent films. Read more

William Goss, MSN Movies: To call Inside Llewyn Davis a minor work doesn't render it any less a pleasure to watch; it's to admit that the film's melancholy depiction of the '60s folk scene in Greenwich Village (and beyond) may only improve in the interim. Read more

Scott Foundas, Variety: The result is a movie that neatly avoids the problems endemic to most period movies -- and biopics in particular -- in favor of a playful, evocatively subjective reality. Read more

A.A. Dowd, AV Club: Twenty-some years after Barton Fink, the Coens have returned with another comedy about the maddening, exasperating business of trying to make art for money. The joke is still on the artist, but the brothers aren't laughing so hard this time around. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: This is one of the strangest yet most satisfying movie experiences of the year, one of those films in which you can't really appreciate what you've seen until it's over. You just have to trust that the trip is worth the trouble. And it is. Read more

Jessica Herndon, Associated Press: The film is a heavy downer and its consistent gray-hue enhances the bleakness. But the Coen brothers never fail to weave in bits of saucy irony, giving way for essential comical moments that bring everything full-circle. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: "Inside Llewyn Davis" is a transporting cinematic experience with a churl at its center, and how you feel about the movie may depend on how you feel about the churl. Read more

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: The broad, black humor of the Coens' early features has ripened over the years into a sadder, more philosophical brand of comedy (A Serious Man) that puts them in a class with Billy Wilder and Ernst Lubitsch (yeah, you heard me). Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: Some quibbles. But it's well worth seeing. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: In top form, Joel and Ethan Coen offer up feel-bad experiences that, like fine blues medleys, make you feel good (although with an acidulous aftertaste). Inside Llewyn Davis is one of their best. Read more

Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News: When the Coen brothers commit to something, there's no half-stepping. Every street corner bristles with authenticity. Every song lands exactly where and how it should. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: Celebrating and mourning a bygone moment, "Inside Llewyn Davis" is a tuneful wake intended to arouse us from our slumber to desires worth remembering. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: In the end you feel Llewyn's pain even as you realize he is a pain. Llewyn Davis is nobody you'd want to be inside. Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: The Coens bring the pre-Dylan 1960s Village to life with a spangly authenticity that leaps off the screen. Read more

Jordan Hoffman, One of the best and most understated movies about the grieving process. Read more

Wesley Morris, Grantland: The film is a work of deceptive refrigeration. The character lacks the same sentiment and warmth as the men who created him. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter: An outstanding fictional take on the early 1960s folk music scene from the Coen Brothers. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: In addition to everything else, "Inside Llewyn Davis" is very much a roman a clef about those early folk years, with many of its characters inspired by real people the Coens reconstitute after viewing them through their very particular lens. Read more

Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News: There's not much of a plot to speak of, just a piercing, evocative sense of a time and place and the characters contained within it. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: Inside Llewyn Davis is one of the Coens' smallest movies - this one doesn't have the broad appeal of True Grit or No Country For Old Men - but like Llewyn's music, it comes from the heart and is deeply felt. It is also one of their best. Read more

David Thomson, The New Republic: [Davis] doesn't seem to possess the inner life that an artist has to bring to the surface. Read more

Rafer Guzman, Newsday: The Coen brothers' latest is one of their best, a bittersweet rumination on creative ambition and youthful dreams. Read more

Anthony Lane, New Yorker: If you love the Coens, or follow folk music, or hold fast to this period of history and that patch of New York, then the film can hardly help striking a chord. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: Llike almost all of their films, the Coens' new movie has a great and playful sense of incident, cramming in characters and anecdotes that obviously amuse the brothers without serving any specific narrative purpose - yet make the narrative all the richer. Read more

Ian Buckwalter, NPR: The brothers challenge their audience to find the vanishingly fine line between nervous laughter at Llewyn's relatable human foibles and schadenfreude over the notion that his defeats represent a morally just comeuppance ... Read more

Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News: It's a must-see - as long as you're willing to embrace the movie's melancholy. Read more

A.O. Scott, New York Times: It's a Coen brothers movie, which is to say a brilliant magpie's nest of surrealism, period detail and pop-culture scholarship. Read more

Michael Sragow, Orange County Register: The sad-funny story of a stubborn, talented Greenwich Village folk singer becomes a stunning, tragicomic paradigm of an artist's struggle in America. Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: Inside Llewyn Davis plays like some beautiful, foreboding, darkly funny dream. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: This isn't a rags-to-riches story. There's no great moment of catharsis. In fact, the filmmakers openly flout mainstream expectations when they show a certain highway sign then proceed to ignore the location shown on it. Read more

Richard Roeper, Richard The Coen brothers have crafted another unique period piece. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: One thing's for sure about this raw provocation from the Coens: Like the music, the pain runs deep and true. You'll laugh till it hurts. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: It never becomes more than one scene, followed by the next, and then another. Yet those scenes are easy to watch, and they have the Coens' signature humor. Read more

Dana Stevens, Slate: For all its grim pessimism, Inside Llewyn Davis is almost romantic in its way. It's an enigmatic parable about ambition and failure, about the loneliness and insecurity of trying to live as an artist. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: If it weren't for a single forced, cheap scatological gag, I'd call this the Coens' most nearly perfect film. Read more

Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Isaac, who also shared the screen with Mulligan in "Drive," may remind some moviegoers of the young Al Pacino. And like Pacino, he has a gift for being appealing even when he's unpleasant. Read more

J. Hoberman, Tablet: Isaac's folk-singing Llewyn Davis may be an arrogant loser and the butt of a cosmic joke but he's something more than a cartoon. So is the movie ... Read more

Jon Frosch, The Atlantic: The Coen brothers' new movie ranks with their very best in its nearly pitch-perfect balance of biting satirical humour and deep reserves of feeling. Read more

James Adams, Globe and Mail: You don't end up rooting for Llewyn Davis because there's not much to root for. And this imparts a weird sort of impersonality or cold-bloodedness to the film's core. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: The whims of fate and vagaries of artistic success have never been so clearly defined, or so musically. Read more

Alonso Duralde, TheWrap: This isn't the cute, accessible period piece that some audiences might be expecting, but the Coens once again prove that their seemingly random and chaotic chord progressions lead somewhere wonderful. Read more

Dave Calhoun, Time Out: The Coens have given us a melancholic, sometimes cruel, often hilarious counterfactual version of music history. It's a what-if imagining of a cultural also-ran that maybe tells us more about the truth than the facts themselves ever could. Read more

Keith Uhlich, Time Out: It's the movie's profound undercurrent of sadness that gets to you. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: Brilliantly acted, gorgeously shot and altogether captivating. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Village Voice: Inside Llewyn Davis is the warmest picture [the Coens have] ever made, and though it will never attract the cultlike adoration of The Big Lebowski and Fargo, or earn the serious-lit-adaptation accolades of No Country for Old Men, it's possibly their best. Read more

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: This soulful, unabashedly lyrical film is best enjoyed by sinking into it like a sweet, sad dream. When you wake up, a mythical place and time will have disappeared forever. But you'll know that attention - briefly, beautifully - has been paid. Read more