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beale
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Late to the game here. There are two possibilities - either the Gorfein's are Mike's parents, or they are a cultured married couple who like to surround themselves with artists (a third possibility is that both of these could be true). Here is what I'm confident about - there is an air of grief for Mike in this scene. Whether that is biological parental grief, or surrogate parent grief, or just really close friend grief, is not as clear. But here is a clip of the scene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gz2BJRYKzA. At the 0:47 mark, Lillian Gorfein is not just feeling the music, as her husband appears to be in the next shot. There is an emotion of sadness welling up in her as Llewyn begins this song. I'm not sure it matters all that much what level of grief we're talking about. Perhaps it makes Llewyn a bit more of an insensitive prick if he is refusing to indulge or participate in the grief of a biological parent, but I think we're talking pretty small degrees there.
Love this underappreciated movie. Always found it fascinating that he basically took the exact plot of House of Games and turned it into something so much emotionally richer. Definitely my favorite Mamet-directed movie.
"(Can a film be great if it has absolutely nothing to say about half the human race?)" Yes.