SIXTIES Greenwich Village musician Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) is struggling to come to terms with the suicide of his singing partner.
He ricochets between gigs and begs for temporary refuge on the couches of friends including Mitch Gorfein (Ethan Phillips) and his wife Lillian (Robin Bartlett).
By accident, Llewyn lets out the Gorfeins'
cat and he embarks on a mission to find it.
Thankfully, Llewyn locates the animal and takes it to the flat of friends Jim (Justin Timberlake) and Jean (Carey Mulligan), who are also a singing duo.
When the Gorfeins' cat escapes a second time, Llewyn resigns himself to telling them the horrible truth and he heads to Chicago for an important audition in the company of drug-addicted jazz musician Roland Turner (John Goodman) and his driver Johnny Five.
Interspersed with musical performances by the cast, Inside Llewyn Davis is another offbeat character study from Joel and Ethan Coen, which proves what goes around, comes around. Isaac is terrific, weathering each outrageous misfortune with the same look of mournful resignation, while Mulligan plays effectively against type as a feisty independent woman, who isn't afraid to speak her mind.
Colourful supporting performances provide bookmarks for Llewyn's journey of self-discovery and the cat, which lands the protagonist in trouble, inevitably provides one of the film's comical highpoints.
This delightful and artfully composed comedy drama moves to its own soft beat, the colour palette is earthy and the humour dry. The direction is elegant and performances are exemplary.