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"If it was never new, and it never gets old, then it's a folk song."
―Llewyn Davis

Inside Llewyn Davis is a 2013 black comedy/drama following a week in the life homeless folk musician Llewyn Davis after the death of his musical partner

It won the Grand Prix as Cannes in 2013 as well as many other awards and recognition.


In February 1961, Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) is a struggling folk singer in New York City's Greenwich Village. His musical partner, Mike Timlin, has died by suicide; his recent solo album Inside Llewyn Davis is not selling; he has no money and is sleeping on the couches of friends and acquaintances.

Llewyn wakes up in the apartment of two of his older and wealthier friends, the Gorfeins. When he leaves, the Gorfeins' cat escapes and Llewyn is locked out. Llewyn takes the cat to the apartment of Jim (Justin Timberlake) and Jean (Carey Mulligan) Berkey. Jean reluctantly agrees to let Llewyn stay that night. Jean tells Llewyn she is pregnant.

The next morning, the Gorfeins' cat escapes again. Later Jean, fearing that Llewyn may be the father, asks him to pay for an abortion.

Llewyn visits his sister in the hope of borrowing money but realizes it won't be possible. Their conversation makes it clear that they are living in different worlds. She mentions that he should look into going back to the Merchant Marine if the music business isn't working out.

On Jim's invitation, Llewyn, as part of the "John Glenn Singers", records a novelty song with Jim and Al Cody (Adam Driver). Needing money immediately, Llewyn agrees to $200 with no royalties. At the gynecologist's office, Llewyn sets up Jean's appointment and discovers that a previous girlfriend, whose abortion he also paid for, decided to keep the baby and moved to Akron without telling him.

While talking to Jean at a café, Llewyn spots what he believes to be the Gorfeins' cat and returns it that evening. Asked to play after dinner, he reluctantly performs "Fare Thee Well", a song he had recorded with Mike. When Mrs. Gorfein starts to sing Mike's harmony, Llewyn becomes angry and yells at her. Mrs. Gorfein leaves the table crying, then returns with the cat, having realized that it is not theirs. Llewyn leaves with the cat.

Llewyn rides with two musicians driving to Chicago: the laconic beat poet Johnny Five (Garrett Hedlund) and the odious jazz musician Roland Turner (John Goodman). At a roadside restaurant, Roland collapses from a heroin overdose. The three stop on the side of the highway to rest. When a police officer tells them to move on, he suspects that Johnny is drunk and tells him to get out of the car. Johnny resists and is arrested. Without the keys, Llewyn abandons the car, leaving the cat and the unconscious Roland behind. In Chicago, Llewyn auditions for Bud Grossman (F. Murray Abraham). Grossman says Llewyn is not suited to be a solo performer but suggests he might incorporate him in a new trio he is forming. Llewyn rejects the offer and hitchhikes back to New York. Driving, he hits what he fears may be the same cat.

Back in New York, feeling tired and out of options to make something of himself Llewyn pays $148 in back dues to rejoin the merchant marine union, and visits his ailing father. Llewyn searches for his seaman's license so he can ship out with the merchant marine, but his sister has thrown it out. Llewyn goes back to the Union Hall to replace it, but he cannot afford it. Llewyn visits Jean and she tells him she got him a gig at the Gaslight. At the Gaslight, Pappi, the manager, claims he had sex with Jean. Llewyn, angered by this, heckles a woman as she performs, and is thrown out. He then goes to the Gorfeins' apartment, where they graciously welcome him. He is amazed to see that their actual cat, Ulysses, has found his way home.

In a reprise of the film's opening scene, Llewyn performs at the Gaslight. Pappi teases Llewyn about his heckling the previous evening and tells him that a friend of his is waiting outside. As he leaves, Llewyn watches as a young Bob Dylan starts to perform onstage. Behind the Gaslight, Llewyn is beaten by a shadowy suited man for heckling his wife, the previous night's performer. Llewyn watches as the man leaves in a taxi and he bids him "Au revoir".


  • Oscar Isaac as Llewyn Davis
  • Carey Mullian as Jean Berkey
  • Justin Timerlake as Jim Berkey
  • Adam Driver as Al Cody
  • John Goodman as Roland Turner
  • Garrett Hedlund as Johnny Five
  • Ethan Phillips as Mitch Gorfein
  • Robin Bartlett as Lillian Gorfein
  • Marcus Mumford and Chris Eldridge as Mike Timlin
  • Stark Sands as Troy Nelson
  • Max Casella as Pappi Corsicato


Inside Llewyn Davis was produced by Scott Rudin and financed by StudioCanel, CBS later bought the American distribution rights.

The film is loosely based on Dave Van Ronk's life and his biography The Mayor of MacDougal Street. The Coens started off with a scene of him getting beat up in an alley way, only to shelve the project. They'd return to it periodically, expanding on it every few years by adding in scenes and fictional characters based off of Van Ronk and other musicians of the time. According to Joel Coen, the cat was added in much later to create a plot for an otherwise plot-less the movie.

The Coen's shot the movie at their own pace, not worrying over whether or not they'd finish in time for awards season. They shot in New York during the spring, a complete difference from the films winter atmosphere. Multiple cats were used during the filming of the movie, each one being used for scene based off of how they acted on their own.


The soundtrack was produced my T-Bone Burnett with Marcus Mumford of Mumford and Sons. All the actors preformed their respective songs live during filming. Many songs featured in the film are based off of Dave Van Ronk's own music as well as a few other songs from the era. One in particular, Please Mr. Kennedy, is a direct parody of the song Mr. Custer by Larry Verne.

No. Title Writer(s) Artist Length
1. "Hang Me, Oh Hang Me" Traditional Oscar Isaac 3:26
2. "Fare Thee Well (Dink's Song)" Traditional Oscar Isaac and Marcus Mumford 3:00
3. "The Last Thing On My Mind" Tom Paxton Stark Sands with Punch Brothers 3:35
4. "Five Hundred Miles" Hedy West Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan and Stark Sands 3:26
5. "Please Mr. Kennedy" Ed Rush, George Cromarty, T Bone Burnett, Justin Timberlake, Joel and Ethan Coen Justin Timberlake, Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver 1:59
6. "Green, Green Rocky Road" Len Chandler and Robert Kaufman Oscar Isaac 3:17
7. "The Death of Queen Jane" Music by Dáithí Sproule; Lyrics: Traditional Oscar Isaac 3:58
8. "The Roving Gambler" Traditional The Down Hill Strugglers with John Cohen 3:05
9. "The Shoals of Herring" Ewan MacColl Oscar Isaac with Punch Brothers 1:41
10. "The Auld Triangle" Dominic Behan Chris Thile, Chris Eldridge, Marcus Mumford, Justin Timberlake and Gabe Witcher 2:42
11. "The Storms Are On the Ocean" A.P. Carter Nancy Blake 3:16
12. "Fare Thee Well (Dink's Song)" Traditional Oscar Isaac 2:46
13. "Farewell" (Unreleased Studio Version) Bob Dylan Bob Dylan 2:07
14. "Green, Green Rocky Road" Len Chandler and Robert Kaufman Dave Van Ronk 3:45

Inside Llewyn Davis - Please Mr. Kennedy


  • The only time the title of the movie is shown is when Llewyn is looking at his solo album cover
  • Adam Driver and Oscar Isaac would collaborate on a movie together again in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
  • Garrett Hedlund and John Goodman have previously worked together in James Wan's Death Sentence, playign a father/son duo.
  • Mike Timlin voiced by Mumford and Sons' singer Marcus Mumford and portrayed physically by Chris Eldridge. He is only seen in the movie on one of Album covers
  • Oscar Isaac has an intense dislike of cats after being biten by one in 2008 that left a scar on his right hand. The cats had to be attached to him by a wire during filming