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Well that refutes my points succinctly and poignantly.
By the way, Stan Carp's short performance deserves all possible awards and accolades. With no dialogue he explains to the audience why Llewyn can't open up. If Llewyn could simply articulate his pain and the reasons for it he would evoke the kind of sympathy and connection that would get him a warm place (or coat) for the winter. He can't tell us how painful it is to sleep at Mike's parent's home, he can't tell Jean how he really feels about her, and he can't talk about the suicide and the loss of his partner...
The only thing missing to prove that Mike is the Gorfein child is the actual exposition. Exhibits A - J Roland Turner's long rant about the George Washington Bridge as being a ridiculous place to kill oneself. Ridiculous except for those that grew up on the upper West Side where that is the bridge that dominates the imagination - and it is FAR more imposing a presence there than the Brooklyn Bridge is to lower Manhattan. The only reason that Llewyn could sit through that rant without taking a shot would be that Roland is entirely missing the point and he, Llewyn, knows why. Ethan Phillips and Robin Bartlett are playing parents grieving for a lost child. They do it to perfection. If you take a shot of Ethan Phillips face when he opens the door and ask total strangers what that man is feeling they would almost certainly answer - profound grief. And no, not everyone survivor of suicide keeps pictures everywhere - more common is to leave the child's room as a shrine - hence the fact that he is sleeping in a den. Count the doors in the Gorfein's enormous apartment. There are more rooms than a one-bedroom apartment. Llewyn is sleeping in the den because he can't or won't sleep in the extra bedroom. You are also wrong that Jean would ask how the Gorfeins are doing with the grieving. That kind of dialogue takes place only when the writers feel like they need to establish the back story. Jean is obviously wrapped up in her pregnancy and her total devotion to Llewyn. To me, they sufficiently gave the back story in showing how Llewyn is grieving the loss of his partner as well as struggling to find an identity without him. It would make no sense for the character to care so much about the cat UNLESS there was a powerful reason. There is no other powerful reason than that he feels guilty for not saving their son and does not want to be responsible for also taking down their cat.. Singing Mike's part would be a comfort to Lillian. The ONLY reason she has for apologizing to Llewyn is that she realized that it was too painful for Llewyn to hear the part come in. Yes, he is an asshole. We do know that. He is self-absorbed...but he may have been willing to sing the song for them but not be able to tolerate hearing the Mike part. There is some misdirection on the cliche of the Jewish folksinger who changes his name. Many of us, myself included, assumed that Llewyn was a stage name. In fact, Llewyn is the genuine article: he can sing seafaring songs from his own and his father's experiene. Mike is the cliche Jewish guy that changes his name... Timlin is a diminutive form of Thomas. Dylan Thomas being a powerful figure in the village in his day and whose death would have been fresh during that era. Look at the rigid smiles of the house guests when the Gorfeins introduce Llewyn as their folksinger friend. They would rather be anywhere else on earth than in the room during that awkward moment. Why else would it be in the dialogue? Nothing the Coen brothers write is without a point (okay they are not above a red herring, but not in a movie about the suicide of, essentially, a brother and co-creator.) It is obvious to me that Mike was the one that could connect with the audience VERBALLY. There is no question that Llewyn can connnect with an audience when he sings: he has no clue how to bring them inside. He can't open up to Jean or his sister either - and that is also why we don't have the full back story.)
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Dec 26, 2013