Sunday, January 12, 2014

Why I Really Like "Inside Llewyn Davis" (2013)

I did really like this movie.  I have a feeling not everyone will because it's like a slowburn, the significant moments for the main character are based on seeing "signs" in the universe, often in the form of cats appearing. But I am one of those people who loves movies with "signs" in the universe.

The movie explores a folksinger's world during Bob Dylan's 1961 Greenwich Village period with settings like the Gaslight. I personally love this era of Bob Dylan, so I had been excited for the movie ever since I saw the preview. 

You do see this guy perform and it's good.  He can sing and play well.  I would have really liked to see him write in a journal or try to compose something though he does tell his shrewish sister that musicians shouldn't let anyone hear their practice performances or it will ruin the "mystique" that musicians aren't geniuses and even have to practice.

This is not the story of a Bob Dylan character who makes it.  This is a story of the folksinger who really tries but isn't making it.  I still admire the character for trying.  He has integrity. One image that is heartbreaking for me occurs when Llewyn has a box of records of his first album with him as one of his few possessions.  He tries to stash it under the table of a place where he's couch surfing only to find that the musician Al Cody whom he is staying with has a similar box of records of his own already there.

Also, the dialogue is AMAZING, the kind of dialogue that makes me smile the whole way through.  I love all the jabs at the entertainment industry.  I like when John Goodman's character makes fun of Llewyn from the back seat of a car saying that as a folksinger Llewyn probably only plays songs with chords C and G.

In a lot of ways this movie reminded me of Five Easy Pieces.  In that movie too, Jack Nicholson's just wandering through his broken life, and in the end he just keeps on going.  There is a scene in both movies of a son trying to reach out to a catatonic father.  Also, in both movies, the main character does not know how to deal with communicating with the opposite sex so he avoids it when he can.

Could the movie have been a little less "bleak" as some reviewers are saying? Well, let's go back to the idea of "signs" in the movie.  The cat doesn't die but walks off wounded.

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