In Greenwich Village in the early 1960s, gifted but volatile folk musician Llewyn Davis struggles with money, relationships, and his uncertain future following the suicide of his singing partner.
At first, I strongly identified with Llewyn Davis' struggles — I think you'd be hard pressed to find a musician who doesn't — but by the film's end, I realize not only how many of those struggles are self-inflicted, I feel as if Llewyn is going to cycle through them many more times before things pick up or bottom out. Musically, Llewyn comes across as scrappy and soulful. He's just the person I'd want singing those sad, world-weary folk songs, at least compared to the cleaner- cut performers he meets throughout the film. And yet, that soul seems to come from tragedies (the suicide of his one-time musical partner) and anxieties (the relationships with family and former lovers) he's too stubborn or poor of spirit to work through properly. He keeps floating by thanks to some enablers. Couches are continually offered for him to sleep on, even after Llewyn insults their owners. A club owner still books him as a performer, even after he is forcibly removed from the club for heckling other performers. It's hard realizing you're in a vicious cycle while you're still inside of it, trying to keep your head above water. It's even harder when connecting with people is as difficult as it is for Llewyn. I feel like the Coen brothers understand that, take it seriously, and yet, from that, created something that made me laugh and engrossed me.