Parents' Guide to

Inside Llewyn Davis

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Bleak but lovely journey OK for older-teen music fans.

Movie R 2013 105 minutes
Inside Llewyn Davis Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 6 parent reviews

age 18+

Excellent movie for mature adults but themes of failure, hopelessness likely to depress rather than enlighten teens

The Coen brother's tonic for the existential burden of life - every individual's aloneness, the seeming futility of suffering, the random violence of circumstance - is art . In the movie , the 'art' is folk singing. For the Coen Brothers, their artistry creates cynical movies, infused with dark humor. This Coen Brothers movie is way less violent than any of their other movies, so by that metric, it is certainly more appropriate for teens (no Coen movie is ever appropriate for children or tweens), but the despair, the meandering journey the protagonist takes, I don't see how any of that creates the sense of adventure and hope that a young adult needs when she/he is setting out in the world. So avoid it. They can check back in with this movie, in their forties.
age 16+

It's Crazy Heart by way of A Serious Man

This look at a folk singer’s life in the ‘60s is sometimes funny but mostly just depressing. The humor comes primarily from irony, but the inescapable facts of each situation make it more often sad than funny. Still, the acting is spot on as a host of top-tier actors fill out their idiosyncratic characters in what amount to a series of extended cameos in true Coen Brothers fashion. Like A Serious Man the plot seems to meander, but here it supports the reality of the protagonist’s life. The lack of a point to the film is counterbalanced by the soulful, emotional music throughout, which makes it worth a watch.

This title has:

Too much swearing

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (6):
Kids say (7):

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.

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