First Hit: Although the acting was strong, there was nothing about the character to care about.
When I watch a film, it helps me when there is someone or something to care about.
This film’s main character Llewyn Davis (played by Oscar Isaac) is a former merchant seaman who really wants to be a folk singer. He was part of a singing duo and they put out an album.
For a reason unknown to the audience, his singing partner committed suicide so Llewyn is on his own. He does sets at local New York City clubs, and he sings well, but no one really connects to him. He couch surfs at friend’s homes to sleep. He’s got no money. One of his friends, Jean (Carey Mulligan), who is married, is pregnant by him (maybe). He also manages to piss everyone off that tries to assist him, with his attitude.
We’re dropped into this story midstream and, one day later, I cannot even tell you how it ends – the whole thing was dreary. However, this doesn’t take away from the excellent acting by Isaac, Mulligan, and Justin Timberlake.
Isaac’s voice is wonderful and the songs he sings are sung with woeful sadness and beauty. Mulligan, in a minor role, is excellent. She brings a certain beauty and grounding to the film. Timberlake is mostly fun and the scene where he and Isaac do a song together is funny. John Goodman, as a juiced up jazz musician Roland Turner, steals the scenes he's in with Isaac. Stark Sands as fellow singer and military man, Troy Nelson stands out as a kind simple person and singer. Joel and Ethan Coen both wrote and directed this film. I would not consider this their best by any stretch of the imagination.
Overall: Although it chronicles life as a folk singer and is well crafted, there isn’t any reason to see or care about the characters.