I am rather uneducated in the works of the Coens, but the movies I have seen from them have all been damn terrific. This film is no different. This is kind of what I imagine American Beauty would be like, a tale about suburban life and a man's struggle just to make everything in his life work. A Serious Man definitely did deserve its Best Picture nomination last year and I'm surprised Michael Stuhlbarg didn't get a best actor nomination because his performance was spectacular.
The film is about Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg), a jewish physics professor who throughout the movie continues to go through a nervous breakdown and can't seem to catch a break. His son is a pot smoker and his daughter is saving up for a nose job. His wife is leaving him. His insane brother sleeps on their couch. His son's bar mitzvah is coming up and he has no idea how to pay for it. All sorts of things happen to him and he cannot seem to catch a break. The movie essentially shows the average modern life of a 1960's dad and it doesn't glamorize anything.
The performances were wonderful and the acting should have also been nominated as well as Best Picture. Michael Stuhlbarg was spectacular in the lead, and the supporting cast were wonderful as well, especially Sari Lennick as Larry's ex-wife , Aaron Wolff and Jessica McManus as Larry's kids, and Fred Melamed as Sy Ableman. Stuhlbarg got a Golden Globe nomination. I'm not sure if he won, but it definitely proves that he was fantastic. Nothing much else to say, except that the acting was wonderful.
As is Coen Brothers standard, the movie is quite character-driven and the movie is incredibly witty. The movie had some great dark comedy and was hilarious without trying to be hilarious like so many movies we get today. I'm serious, most mainstream comedies try to aim for as broad laughs as possible. Coen Brothers movies are different because they rely on subtlety, dark comedy and nuance. Plus, they don't cater to the lowest common denominator. The characters are well-written and I really felt sorry that Larry could not catch a break. But sometimes that's the way life goes.
The one thing that did piss me off was how abruptly the Coen's ended the movie. I know they are famed for abruptly ending their movies and not wrapping everything up in a neat little bow, but they could have extended the movie a couple minutes and made sense of the ending. It kinda pissed me off, definitely one of the most irritating endings to a good movie I have ever seen. However, without giving away the ending, I'm just going to wrap this up.
A Serious Man is a great movie. If you are a fan of the Coens, then you will like this movie. If you want to rent a good movie, check this out. If you want to start watching the Coens, then this is a good movie to start with. The story was good, the acting was good, it was hilarious, and the only thing that I had a problem with was the ending. All in all, just a fantastic movie from two fantastic directors.
Finally, in my chronological journey through the Coen Brothers body of work, I come to the latest of their movies (surely not the last, which would be a cause for mourning). If you have followed my reviews, you know that I find the core of the work (and the best of it) is about finding and understanding identity (See my review of Burn after Reading for a summary of my reviews to that point).. In Serious Man, they return to their time (mid 60s), place (Midwest) and … more
Finally, in my chronological journey through the Coen Brothers body of work, I come to the latest of their movies (surely not the last, which would be a cause for mourning). If you have followed my reviews, you know that I find the core of the work (and the best of it) is about finding and understanding identity (see my review of Burn After Reading In Serious Man, they return to their time (mid 60s), place (midwest) and ethnic identity (Jewish family life) to mine … more
**** out of **** "A Serious Man" proves that the Coen Brothers are some of the best two filmmakers living. They have impressed me in the past and they have disappointed me; a nice mix, if you ask me. They have had their triumphs, their successes, and then their lesser efforts. "A Serious Man" is one of their best by all means, being a thought-provoking piece of story-telling with not a boring moment to spare. I was seriously hooked every moment of the … more
Why do bad things happen to good people? After watching A Serious Man, I realized that it isn't so much that only the good people are the ones who have bad things happen to them, but that we care when they do. We don't care about the bad things that happen to bad people, unless they're an anti hero. A Serious Man is arguabbly most mature of the Coen Brothers movies, saving the skittish characters and the worst eccentricies for another … more
This ninth Mike Zoss Production concerns the mounting woes of a hapless, well-meaning physics professor (Michael Stuhlbarg) in late-'60s St. Louis Park, Minnesota. His wife (Sari Lennick) wants to divorce him for a widowed friend (Fred Melamed); his deadbeat brother (Richard Kind) is a criminal burden; a sultry neighbor (Amy Landecker) sunbathes in the buff, while another (Peter Breitmayer) quietly hates his guts; his teenage son is a habitual pothead and his daughter steals money from him to … more
What Pompted You to write a Review? I really like this movie, but its not very well known How was the Plot, Acting, Direction? Perfect, it was funny, everyone was very good at acting Were You ENTERTAINED? yes, it was a very interesting story, I never looked at my watch Did It Fulfill Expectations? Hype Level? I didn't have very high expectations, I knew it was nominated for best picture and … more
Pros: Nothing at all, nothing Cons: Every every every little and last thing. The Bottom Line: Simply awful, no need to say more. Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. Joel and Ethan Coen have sold their souls to a haphazard soulshark. Rather than giving up their whole souls for permanent triumphs, they have bargained to make at least one very bad movie for every very good one. … more
Every time a Coen Brothers film comes out, they seem to go in this bad, good and decent order. For example take No Country for Old Men; how that movie ever won best picture is beyond me because it was straight up terrible. Then came Burn After Reading which was really good and funny. Finally, A Serious Man comes out not to long ago and doesn't get a lot hype but none the less, the film is decent and gets nominated for best picture. Now, does it deserve a best picture nod? … more
I thought this would work, but like "Burn After Reading" or "Barton Fink" it let me down. The Bros Coen keep getting more self-hating about their Jewish suburban angst; this curdles their arch narratives. Their smugness given their status as critical darlings contrasts with how Philip Roth or Bernard Malamud's novels from this 60s period managed critique of this oft-critiqued milieu without making you feel cheapened. Parts of this film were great, as in the twists at the … more
A Serious Man is a black comedy feature film written, produced, and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. It is due to be released on October 2, 2009, in the United States.
The film is set in St. Louis Park, Minnesota in the year 1967, and is intended in some ways to reflect the childhood of the Coen brothers as they recall it.
The protagonist is Larry Gopnik, a Jewish academic living in a middle-class Jewish neighborhood in a Minneapolis suburb. The story follows Gopnik's spiritual and existential struggle as his wife Judith contemplates leaving him for his colleague Sy Ableman. Adding to his suffering is his ne'er-do-well brother, Arthur, who lacks the resources and the ability to care for himself and consequently lives on Larry's couch. Larry begins to question the value of his life as he deals with these and other trials, including his son, Danny, who steals money from his wallet to buy marijuana; his daughter, Sarah, who steals to finance a planned nose job; a student who alternately attempts to bribe him for a passing grade and threatens to sue him for defamation (made all the worse because Larry is up for tenure); and a female neighbor who distracts him by sunbathing in the nude. Larry seeks advice from three different rabbis in an attempt to solve his problems and to become an austere and devoted man.