Inside Llewyn Davis
By S. Jhoanna Robledo,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Bleak but lovely journey OK for older-teen music fans.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The biggest ally you can have when you're reaching for your dreams is self-motivation and drive. There will be days when striving seems for naught, but you can't short-change yourself.
Positive Role Models
Llewyn's not a particularly popular or together guy, but his passion for his music is impressive, second only to his talents. Some of his friends do really care about him, and hold his best interests at heart.
Violence & Scariness
A screaming fight between two ex-lovers. A man sucker-punches another, leaving him doubled over on the ground. Talk of suicide.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A heated discussion about how one man impregnated a woman who already has a boyfriend.
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Lots of swearing in the first part of the film, and then it's periodic. Some pejorative language ("queer"), plus "s--t," "---hole," "Goddammit," "sonofabitch," "d--k," "piss" and "f--k."
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Products & Purchases
A few cases of historical name dropping, including the Gaslight and Columbia Records.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A man gets tipsy at a club and heckles the performer. Some social drinking. A man is shown shaking on a bathroom floor after an apparent drug overdose.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Inside Llewyn Davis, by filmmaking brothers Joel and Ethan Coen, is a startlingly affecting drama about 1960s Greenwich Village folk singer Llewyn Davis's struggle to be noticed and to survive. Expect a bleak (but memorable) retelling that includes some intense subject matter (suicide, abortion), plus some drinking and a scene of a possible drug overdose that may be too heavy for younger teens. There's also plenty of swearing, including "---hole" and "f--k," and a bunch of amazing musical performances.
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Where to Watch
Videos and Photos
Inside Llewyn Davis
Based on 6 parent reviews
Excellent movie for mature adults but themes of failure, hopelessness likely to depress rather than enlighten teens
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It's Crazy Heart by way of A Serious Man
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What's the Story?
Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) is having a bad time. His former musical partner gone, due to a tragic suicide, he's going it alone. Though they were mildly successful as a duo, nobody wants to give him the time of day as a soloist. Meantime, an old lover (Carey Mulligan), who's now dating his best friend (Justin Timberlake), drops some unexpected news, making Llewyn more determined than ever to figure his life out. Llewyn pins his hopes onto an audience with a Chicago nightclub owner and music manager, and he'll make the pilgrimage to the Windy City by hitchhiking with a junkie jazz musician (John Goodman) and his surly sidekick (Garrett Hedlund).
Is It Any Good?
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS is a feat of filmmaking, taking the gentle strains of folk music and revealing it for the revolutionary act that it is. Not just because it has been the soundtrack of many social movements, but of personal ones, too. Oscar Isaac as Llewyn is revelatory, a bone-tired, supremely talented man whose passion for making music is struggling mightily against the whims of the industry and his demons -- one being the loss of his musical partner to suicide. When Isaac sings, we're transported first to the dusky bars of 1960s West Village and, more important, to the jungle of discouragement and confusion he's living in. It's a powerful performance. Supporting him is a great ensemble, some new to the Coen Brothers family (Timberlake, thankfully subdued and nearly holding his own against the others) and some beloved veterans (Goodman).
It's not just Isaac and the cast, though, that makes Inside Llewyn Davis remarkable. The music, with T-Bone Burnett in charge of the soundtrack, takes its rightful place front and center. And the Coens tell the story in a clever, elliptical way that drives home the futility and magic of a time. But it's not all sadness and tears. The Coens' singular humor runs a streak through the entire enterprise. Go see it.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the character of Llewyn. What makes him different from other movie heroes? What is the message behind his journey?
How does this movie illuminate the folk music scene of the 1960s? Does it debunk myths in any way?
What do you think of the folk music sung here? How is it different from today's music?
- In theaters: December 6, 2013
- On DVD or streaming: March 11, 2014
- Cast: Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Justin Timberlake, Oscar Isaac
- Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
- Inclusion Information: Latinx actors
- Studio: CBS Films
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Music and Sing-Along
- Run time: 105 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: language including some sexual references
- Last updated: November 18, 2022
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