(Sixties folkie tale)
If you were around during the ’60s, you’ll love this tale about a down and out folk singer.
Oscar Isaac plays the title character, a self-proclaimed folk artist with a passion for his music and no clue as to how to market it and survive on no income. Llewyn lives by the grace of others, crashing on friends’ couches, bumming cigarettes and playing solo in a small bar in Greenwich Village. Llewyn had a partner once, but he jumped off the George Washington Bridge, so he was forced to go solo.
Isaac is terrific, as is John Goodman in a cameo role, accompanying him on a road trip to Chicago that doesn’t go very well. There’s a running joke about a cat that provides some fun along the way, but basically poor Llewyn is a depressing character whose inner struggles come out in his music.
There are a few Peter, Paul and Mary songs, plus dozens of others either sung in front of the camera or in the background.
Llewyn and many of the other characters are based on folk singers from the sixties. The Clancy Brothers, with their white sweaters, are not treated as nicely as some. If you are a fan of folk music and its emergence in the sixties, this is a movie for you. (Joyce stayed home.) I enjoyed the music and the characters and especially the nostalgia.
The Coen Brothers wrote and directed in their own personal style. And when they finished what they had to say, they abruptly ended the movie after an hour and a quarter without any closure.
Rated R because of the profanity and some sex.