Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Key Actors: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman
MPAA Rating: R
Synopsis: Inside Llewyn Davis a follows folk singer by the name of the title of the film in 1961 New York City. Davis struggles to make it as a musician as well as to maintain friendships. Other than that, there is not much of a plot. There are, however, a few cute cats (I love cats) and a brief appearance by Bob Dylan.
Overall Rating: 1/2 Star
I guarantee many (most) people will argue me on this, but Inside Llewyn Davis is a horrible movie. There is no point to this movie. It is two hours of angry people being angry at the world and each other, saying horrible things to each other. There is no recognizable story. There is no central conflict. (Leading a difficult life does not a central conflict make in a story.) I think this is going to be one of those movies everyone loves outwardly, but mostly only because it has the stamp of The Coen Brothers and people would feel “uncool” for not liking it. Is that rude? Probably. But there are movies/books/TV shows like that–media that don’t deserve the attention or appreciation they receive but garner it because for some inexplicable reason people “have” to like it. In fact, I saw this movie with my family and as we left the theatre we discussed the film and I was reminded of this scene from 500 Days of Summer:
I think “grasping at straws” is the phrase that applies here.
Also, I read on the giant poster outside the theater that this movie (or was it the poster?) was based on the cover of Bob Dylan’s album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. To use a Millennial colloquialism: Just no.
Here is how I feel about “artsy” films: Artsy films are great. I love artsy films. But there still has to be a point and a plot, etc.
Bechdel: Fail, fail, fail. There are two female characters in this movie. But they never even enter the same room let alone speak to each other. Just another vision of women in film only existing for the men.
Treatment of women: Where do I begin? How about with that Carey Mulligan’s character seemed only to exist for sex? By the end of the film you know of at least three men who have had sex with her character. And that is the only “value” her character provides. As a woman, it is beyond tiresome to watch movie after movie include women merely as sex objects, sex characters, or objects of desire. Seriously, what world do these male writers live in that they think women are only for sex?
And that is not to mention that Mulligan’s character is an accomplished singer but as she performs other characters don’t comment on her ability, but instead on how much they’d like to have sex with her. This movie is a serious fail for women.
And finally, a different female performer sings while the main character shouts obscenities at her and asks to see her panties. Do I need to go on? It isn’t enough that this movie has no plot, is painful to watch, and made me wish I had the ability to fall asleep in theaters. It also had to contain obscene sexism.
Maybe I should reduce my half star to zero stars? The acting is good. And the music is excellent. Do those two things warrant half a star when the rest is despicable? I guess I can throw this film a bone and include the half star. But it is grudgingly.