Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.


Watch This Review

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Movie Review

"I don't see a lot of money here."

That's how Chicago record company owner Bud Grossman responds to a struggling young folk singer from New York City named Llewyn Davis after an impromptu audition in 1961. And that assessment could also double as the story of Llewyn's sad life.

Llewyn wants nothing more than to make a living as a singer-songwriter. And it seemed he was on the verge of achieving that dream, having already enjoyed one hit as a member of the duo Timlin & Davis.

Then his partner committed suicide.

And no one's really interested in Llewyn as a solo act.

Come to think of it, no one's really interested in Llewyn as anything.

The homeless and penniless musician floats from one set of acquaintances' couches to another each night. His friendship with fellow folkies Jim and Jean isn't helped by the fact that Jean is pregnant … and she's not sure which man is the father. Llewyn frequently stays with an aging Columbia University professor and his wife, the Gorfeins, as well. But that connection isn't helped when he lets their cat escape from their apartment. And even when he thinks he's found the critter, well, it's the wrong feline.

Which, come to think of it, is just about like his career.

Meanwhile, Llewyn's manager, a crusty curmudgeon named Mel Novikoff, hasn't done him any favors either. He hasn't promoted the album. In fact, he acts as if Llewyn doesn't really exist. And Llewyn's older sister, Joy, just thinks her brother should let go of his music dreams and get a job already.

On whim, then, Llewyn bums a ride with another struggling musician (Johnny Five) and an aging, eccentric jazz man (Roland Turner) to seek out Mr. Grossman and maybe jump-start his career.

But we already know how that turns out.

Positive Elements

In profanity-strewn rants, Jean reads Llewyn the riot act about how self-absorbed he is. And she's right. (Not about the obscenities, of course, but her observations absolutely pin Llewyn to the wall.) Llewyn's sister also gives him good advice about that whole getting a job deal.

As for Llewyn, the best you can say about him is that he once visits his father, who is either unwilling or unable to speak to him, in a nursing home.

Spiritual Content

Roland says he studied "the black arts" of Santeria in New Orleans, and he threatens to put a curse on Llewyn. A line in a folk song says, "Lord, I can't go back home this a-way."

Sexual Content

Jean repeatedly tells Llewyn he should wear two condoms and labels him an "a‑‑hole who sleeps with other people's women." She informs him that she's pregnant, and that she doesn't know whether the baby is his or Jim's. If it's Jim's, she says she'd want to keep it. Not so much with Llewyn. There's talk about another girl Llewyn got pregnant years before. And another guy brags about also sleeping with Jean.

A song lyric mentions a "red-blooded wife with a healthy libido." Someone jokingly asks if Llewyn is "queer" (because he has a cat with him). Llewyn lewdly heckles an aging female performer by saying (among other mean things), "Show us your panties." We see Llewyn in his boxers.

Violent Content

Because of Jean's uncertainty about her baby's daddy, she says she wants an abortion—and Llewyn arranges one for her. We hear that Llewyn's former musical partner committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.

The film's opening scene (which is repeated later) shows a mysterious man in an alley punching Llewyn in the face twice, sending the singer reeling to the ground. Llewyn sings a song about a hanging. He accidentally hits a cat while driving. (When he stops he sees blood on the bumper and spies the injured animal limping into the woods.)

Crude or Profane Language

At least 55 f-words and about 35 s-words. God's name is taken in vain half-a-dozen times (four times linked with "d‑‑n"), and Jesus' name is abused at least that many times too. A dozen total uses of "a‑‑" or "a‑‑hole." One or two instances each of "b‑‑tard," "d‑‑k" and "p‑‑‑."

Drug and Alcohol Content

Characters drink alcohol (beer and wine) and smoke throughout. Llewyn asks others to share cigarettes with him.

Other Negative Elements

In a fit of self-centered frustration at the Gaslight Club, Llewyn rudely heckles an older woman from Arkansas who admits that it's her first time performing in New York City. And he rudely rebukes another older woman who begins singing the harmony part of a Timlin & Davis song while he's performing it. He asks Roland if the older man's cane would fit up his backside.

There's mention of a cat's scrotum. Roland talks of "purging from every orifice." And he later has a seizure, passing out in his own vomit in a bathroom stall. Johnny Five and Llewyn haul him back to their car; then, when Johnny gets pulled over and arrested, Llewyn leaves the still unconscious Roland in the freezing vehicle in the middle of winter to hitchhike to Chicago.


Inside Llewyn Davis was loosely inspired by one of the many starving artists (Dave Van Ronk, specifically) who flocked to Greenwich Village's folk scene in the early 1960s. And many mainstream critics are hailing it as being among Ethan and Joel Coen's best films. (They're responsible for the likes of No Country for Old Men, Intolerable Cruelty and Fargo.) But I can't help but wonder if even fans of these two brothers' often grim, spare and despairing stories will start to wonder what all the fuss is about.

Indeed, even Joel Coen himself has joked about the movie's lack of cohesive plot. He told London's Telegraph, "That concerned us at one point; that's why we threw the cat in."

As its title indicates, Inside Llewyn Davis is built upon a subtle, self-indulgent opening up and unpacking of its title character. Except that, well, there's not much of anything actually left inside Llewyn Davis.

Llewyn longs to be a successful musician—a longing that has consistently and repeatedly been denied. But in that denial, he doesn't seem to be learning much, if anything. There's essentially zero character development in his life as he faces one setback after another. Instead, Llewyn just keeps on using those around him in the narcissistic hope that one day something might change.

It never does.

One telling scene finds Llewyn hitchhiking back to New York from his failed venture in Chicago. Llewyn is driving while the man who picked him up sleeps, and he sees an interstate exit for Akron, Ohio. That's where the woman who (he recently learned) had his child now lives. The Coens focus on his face, and we watch as Llewyn considers taking the exit.

He doesn't. And nothing, it seems, is ever likely to change for him.

Maybe that's the point. It's the kind of thing artsy, indie flicks sometimes strive toward.

But despite its angsty pretensions, Inside Llewyn Davis remains merely a story without a destination, a bleak portrait of a bleak man's bleak life on a self-absorbed road to nowhere.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range



Oscar Isaac as Llewyn Davis; Carey Mulligan as Jean; Justin Timberlake as Jim; Ethan Phillips as Mitch Gorfein; Robin Bartlett as Lillian Gorfein; Jerry Grayson as Mel Novikoff; Jeanine Serralles as Joy; Adam Driver as Al Cody; Stark Sands as Troy Nelson John Goodman as Roland Turner; Garrett Hedlund as Johnny Five; F. Murray Abraham as Bud Grossman


Joel Coen ( )Ethan Coen ( )


CBS Films



Record Label



In Theaters

December 6, 2013

On Video

March 11, 2014

Year Published



Adam R. Holz

Content Caution

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!