I had little to no expectation going into this film. I had heard that it was on the melancholy side and not quite up to the usual Coen Brothers standard.
This probably made me enjoy the movie all the more.
From the first guirtar chord to the final wave goodbye, this movie kept me at rapt attention. The story is simple: a modestly successful folk singer is down on his luck, looking for his next big break as a solo act. The movie follows Llewyn Davis from couch to couch as he attempts to sell his wares and make a name for himself.
By far not the funniest Coen Brothers picture, the film brings a definite sarcastic charm and lovability to its main character, despite his... well, asshole-ness. Oscar Isaac's performance in the film is tremendous and he brings just the right balance of pretension and vulnerability to the title character.
Though at least 20% of the movie is song performance, the film doesn't lag. Not to take anything away from the music, which was inspired. Most scenes are interjected with lovely folk music that shockingly does move the plot along, albeit in subtle ways. I also may have the album on repeat so I'm a little bit biased on this front.
I didn't agree with all the choices the film made, such as the casting of Justin Timberlake as a folk singer, but overall I feel that the movie was overall excellent, and sadly highly rejected by the Academy this year.
I found the most effective part was that we were only privy to a slice of Llewyn's life. We get a moment, a taste of who this character is and what he's going through. We get glimpses into the past, and barely a glance into the future. For the most part, we are just there with him, going along for the ride.
Highly recommend this movie, check it out while it's still in theatres!