Inside Llewyn Davis Movie Poster Image

Inside Llewyn Davis



Bleak but lovely journey OK for older-teen music fans.
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 105 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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.


A screaming fight between two ex-lovers. A man sucker-punches another, leaving him doubled over on the ground. Talk of suicide.


A heated discussion about how one man impregnated a woman who already has a boyfriend.


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."


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.

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. 

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.

Families can talk 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?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 6, 2013
DVD/Streaming release date:March 11, 2014
Cast:Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Justin Timberlake, Oscar Isaac
Directors:Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Studio:CBS Films
Topics:Music and sing-along
Run time:105 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:language including some sexual references

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Parent Written byMommaKorn December 27, 2013

Pretty Boring

I'm not sure you should even spend the $$ to take a kid to this movie. It's going to be a must-see for Coen Brothers fans but kids won't get it. In fact I've seen every Coen Brother's movie and even I didn't get the point. The protagonist is a tragic figure, but he's unlikable. There's no one to "root for." Content wise, there is little in there that will traumatize your kid unless you're sensitive about f-bombs and abortion.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written bydoubleE December 31, 2013

The Movie is Phenomenal... The Language Isn't

First of all this movie was FANTASTIC! I have no idea why I wanted to see this but I was so glad I did. The music is terrific and this was one of the best movies of 2013. There is so much language in this movie. It seems like the F word was used 400 times or in every sentence. There is no sex but some really heavy discussions on abortion. Violence is very slim with a couple of fist fights. A mature teen could handles but I doubt a teen would want to see this... AMAZING movie!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 17 years old Written byB-KMastah January 1, 2014

Kind of messy, but fitfully so.

Each performance is stellar even if some are minimized, and the direction and music complements it perfectly. The story drifts a fair amount and I honestly don't have any problem with, it's just that the marketing and promotional material for the film showcases several people that are just barely there (don't expect to see more than two scenes of Justin Timberlake and John Goodman). The marketing for this movie is actually pretty terrible. However, as with this film, I quite like drifting stories because they allow for a more realistic and first-person perspective of events. Oscar Isaac is sosososo good and his character verges on anti-hero since he's such a bad person when you think about what he does, but he gives it depth and loads of charisma. Carey Mulligan was surprisingly convincing as a sort of totally mean person, which I haven't really seen from her before. The thing I was the most skeptical of was the music, but thank God it works super well. It's crucial, of course, but works because the actors the play subtle and everything feels realistic. It drags a bit, but the color pallet and coldly immersive nature helps.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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