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An Imaginary Conversation with J Hoberman about Inside Lleywn Davis and the universe of the schlemiel

(quotations from Mr Hoberman are from his “Tablet” magazine review of the film).

JH: A scene in which [Lleywn] sings Ewan MacColl’s “The Shoals of Herring” for his catatonic dad in a dismal rest home for retired seamen affords a pathos that the Coens are pleased to despoil because, like Barton Fink or Larry Gopnik (_A Serious Man_), Llewyn Davis is a schlemiel.
JG: Llewyn is certainly a schlemiel (but not solely that). He has maybe gotten a colleague at the Gaslight pregnant who, it turns out, really cares for him. But he does not pursue it. He almost drives to Akron to see a girl friend who had his child, instead of using the money he freely gave her to get an abortion. But he doesn’t make it. He insults well-meaning people. He loses his merchant marine papers through thoughtlessness. He loses out on royalties on a gag song he jointly sung (sure fire) , because he gave up any royalties in favor a few hundred bucks he needed (to pay for the folk singer’s abortion).
JH: . Later, Llewyn goes on the road to Chicago with a feline cat and a human one (John Goodman as a hideous jazz junkie hipster), hoping to land a gig at the Gate of Horn or at least get representation from the owner Bud Grossman. A stand-in for Dylan’s manager Albert Grossman, this imposing figure is singularly unimpressed. “I don’t see a lot of money here.” Read More 
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