This is going to be a pretty slipshod review, because I don't know how to describe what happened. I recently saw the movie "Nebraska" in which nothing really happened, some guys drove around and I left being pretty bored about the nothing that didn't happen. In ILD, also nothing really happens, but it was fascinating. It helps that the Coen brothers are masters at script writing, as well as the visual arts.
But instead of being bored, I am actively depressed. Depressed that this guy, while at once behold himself and his nose at a higher atmosphere as the heir apparant to the Guthrie folk throne, while at the same time using that righteousness to sabotage himself at every turn. I'm depressed that the people around should let themselves feel any loss that they aren't a part of his emotional world when that room really has no hook to hang a coat on. I feel bad for kitty cats.
So Llewyn is a dick. A lone folk singer in the heyday of bohemian Greenwich Village. Bemoaning his tales of woe while the Peters, Pauls and Marys of the scene are "grabbing people" with sentimentality and quirk. He couches here and there until the favor wears off. I had never heard of Oscar Isaac, who plays the title character, but he is fairly magnificent. Imagine if Adam Goldberg's mom had given birth to Al Pacino's baby.
But the story is nothing more than him getting bitched at, trying to scrape up some dough, traveling around like the homeless musician that he is. But the people and the kitty cats involved in that non-activity and there's no resolve or redemption to be cared about. That's another thing I'm depressed about. That Llewyn seems uninterested in finding that redemption, content to maintain the cycle of merely surviving.