Phillip’s review published on Letterboxd:
I knew this film as a song before I ever watched it in its entirety. Of course, I am talking about the duet between Marcus Mumford and Oscar Isaac, "Fare Thee Well". That song was what got me interested in the movie, because of its solemnness, simplistic beauty, and because Mumford and Isaac are such naturally gifted musicians.
Directors Joel and Ethan Coen have crafted something truly special here, the story and music are wonderful and the cinematography and art direction is in top form. Everything feels soft, and warm, coupled with the wonderful use of colors and the sepia/grainy tone throughout the film, this is a real treat for the eyes, as well as the ears. The film is incredibly melancholic, and yet sometimes hilarious, which really speaks to the writing skills of the Coens.
The cast here is fantastic as well, with great turns from John Goodman and Carey Mulligan, and even a couple orange tabby cats. Justin Timberlake and Adam Driver lend their vocal talents as well and it's all just so pleasing, similar to a ray of sun hitting your face.
Without a doubt, this is my favorite Oscar Isaac performance, and maybe even my favorite performance by an actor in the history of ever. See, Llewyn Davis is an asshole, and people are not afraid of telling him that, but there is a reason Llewyn is the way that he is, and that's because he's tired. He's tired of working so hard on his music, only to get nothing in return, he's tired of his routine of sleeping on various friend's couches, he's tired of being broke. Isaac's performance makes it so easy to empathize with Llewyn and feel for him when he gets denied a gig, or when he is riding the subway alone for what feels like the thousandth time. Llewyn's character arc, coupled with the movie's overarching themes of art, grief, and loneliness make this a sight to behold.
In my opinion, this is a perfect movie, everything comes together so effortlessly. It also inspired me to dress up as Llewyn for Halloween this year twitter.com/groundhogphil_/status/925483859298230272.
I absolutely love the ending too.