Despite what the real film critics are saying, Inside Llewyn Davis isn’t a good movie. Sure it’s beautifully shot and sure Oscar Issac does an amazing job as Llewyn Davis. But this movie proves that cinematography and acting isn’t always enough to make a good movie. For those of you who don’t know the plot, or mistakenly think it’s about Justin Timberlake testing out new facial hair, let me fill you in. And yes filling you in will include some spoilers. But such is life.
Llewyn Davis is a folk singer living in New York City in the early ’60s. Despite being talented, his career isn’t really taking off. To make matters worse, he gets his friend’s wife pregnant. Even though Jean (Carey Mulligan) is unsure if the baby is his or her husband Jim’s (Justin Timberlake), she insists Llewyn find the money for the abortion. As you can imagine, failed folk singers aren’t exactly flush with cash. In fact Llewyn can’t even afford an apartment, he goes from couch to couch until people get tired of him.
The entire movie takes places over the course of a few days. In which nothing happens. You just see him trudge around New York City and try to make his career happen — knowing the whole time that it won’t. It’s probably a a very accurate depiction of what it’s like for a folk singer living in New York City in the 1960s. The problem is that with the exception of true crime stories, accurate isn’t usually fun to watch on a screen for two hours. If I wanted to see someone’s depressing life unfold, I’d get on Facebook.
I spent the entire movie waiting for something — really anything — to happen. But it doesn’t. There is no resolution. You assume that he’s just going to keep trudging along, sleeping on couches and performing in basements. Which again, is realistic. Real life isn’t always exciting, in fact, for most of us, it’s actually pretty boring. But that’s not why we fork over $10 to the theaters. We want drama, we want action, we want a musical montage that shows a character changing over a long period of time. At least I do. I know people are going to say that I’m missing the point, that I’m too ignorant to see the artistry. But I know what I like and it’s definitely not this.