We tend to be pretty friendly around here regarding movies, good or bad or otherwise, so you probably expect a positive response to a film with general reviews as supportive as those reflected in the numbers above. I, however, was not a big fan of Llewyn. The Coen brothers certainly have my respect, though I won’t pretend to be the biggest fan of their movies, and I expected a little more out of this one. Oscar Isaac gives a fantastic performance, one that probably would have earned him an Oscar nomination most years, and Carey Mulligan also stands out, albeit in an angry and hollow role. There are positives and negatives to the movie, but I fear our system will not be kind to it…
Could I watch it with my mother?
Probably a better option than with your better half, but I still can’t give a ringing endorsement. Isaac and Mulligan stand out, Timberlake sings pretty, and Garrett Hedlund is sad because he couldn’t hold on to the football, but the sum of the parts add up to something far greater than the film as a whole. Folk music may or may not set your heart aflutter, but even the beautiful tunes showcased in the movie can’t make up for the flatness of the rest of the film. If your mother is like mine, she’ll probably fall asleep watching, so you may be better off watching alone, with friends, or not at all.
If you like the stories told by folk musicians, and the feelings they make you feel, maybe you’ll enjoy the movie, but I think you’re better off just listening to the soundtrack or Sigh No More. Marcus Mumford, Isaac, Timberlake, and others make beautiful music, and the Coen brothers obviously know how to make a movie, but even the best can’t always get the job done.