A Misanthrope’s Guide to the Movies: Inside Llewyn Davis

Although its official nation-wide release date isn’t until December, Inside Llewyn Davis played a one-night engagement at Providence Place Cinema last night for Brown students, courtesy of the Ivy Film Festival. While probably not destined for the same fame as Fargo or The Big LebowskiLlewyn Davis came equipped with the slow pace, minimal overt plot and dry, humorous dialogue audiences have come to expect from Joel and Ethan.

Inside Llewyn Davis takes its viewers through something like 72 hours in the life of struggling singer-songwriter Llewyn Davis. We meet Llewyn as he is essentially homeless having recently lost his singing partner, impregnated his friend’s wife, and stolen another friend’s cat. But the film is not about redeeming this otherwise anti-hero—it simply provides a window into his downward spiral. The movie literally ends with Llewyn face-up in an alley (calm down, that ruins absolutely nothing), and the reminder that for every Bob Dylan success story, there are hundreds just like Llewyn: broke and alone. And does this mean they should abandon their art for less inspiring, more lucrative careers? Is music a career or party trick? I don’t know. The movie leaves far more questions than answers. But the biggest question I asked myself as the film ended was why? Why did I just spend 105 minutes with this character?

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