Home > 2009 Movie Reviews > A Serious Man Review

A Serious Man Review


A Serious Man

A Serious Man, while this was a very well written and directed movie, with a few hysterical scenes, overall, I found it a little drab and boring.

My reason 3.5 Stars

The Hudsucker Proxy, Fargo, No Country For Old Men, and Burn After Reading what do these movies have in common? If you’re a film buff you will know the answer without even thinking about it. However, if you’re not a film buff, you may have trouble seeing the similarities. Why?  Because there aren’t any similarities between these movies, they are all very different films. What they do have in common is that they were all written and directed by the Coen Brothers. These movies have one more thing in common; they are among some of my favorite movies of all time.

Does this mean that anything the Coen Brothers make is good? It all depends on who you ask. While I certainly respect them as filmmakers and writers, I have not enjoyed every single movie they have produced. The Coen Brothers are the type of filmmakers that make movies because they love it and it shows in their work and their films have stood the test of time.

The Coen brothers have also produced movies like Raising Arizona, The Big Lobowski, Oh Brother Where Art Thou and many more. I have not seen Oh Brother, but I did see the other two and I did not care much for them. I know that these movies have a huge cult following. That is the charm of these two talented directors. They manage to find a huge audience with any movie they make and that is something that very few filmmakers in Hollywood can claim.

This poses a curious problem for me. How do you recommend a movie that you didn’t like? Just because I didn’t like the movie, it doesn’t make it a bad one. People often make that distinction and it is an incorrect one. We can hate a movie all we want; it doesn’t make it a bad film. However, I am still left with the problem. A Serious Man is the Coen Brothers’ latest work. This film was loved by many film critics, however the average person hated the movie. What gives? How does one recommend this or critique it? The best I can do is tell you how I perceived it, but I will not make any recommendations.

A Serious Man is about a middle aged man who was about to be hit by a series of unfortunate and stressful situations that would make any person go crazy. Shit happens, right? People get divorced all the time, people get into car accidents all the time, if you have kids you know how difficult they can be, these are all very stressful situations, however, they don’t always happen to us all at once. The Coen Brothers thought it would be funny to have all of these situations and even more hair yanking circumstances happen to one Larry Gopnik.

Larry was about to face a complicated divorce. His wife had fallen in love with a family friend and because they were Jewish she also wanted something called a “get”. A “get” is basically a Jewish divorce in accordance with Jewish law and tradition. Larry was also a teacher who was up for tenure, however, things weren’t looking good after a student tried to bribe him for a better grade. Larry decided to speak the boy’s father before taking action, however, this turned out to be an even bigger mistake. The boy’s father threatened to sue Larry for slander if he accused his son of bribery, but also said that he would sue him if he accepted the bribe. Quite a conundrum, don’t you think? To make matters worse, Larry had to worry about his son who was about to go through his Bar Mitzvah and was also stealing from his sister.  She was trying to save up to get a nose job. Larry was not happy to hear about the nose job. To top this off, his brother, Arthur was also living under his roof. Arthur had some medical issues and was also constantly getting into trouble with the law. Larry had a neighbor that kept ruining his lawn, his other neighbor liked to sunbathe in the nude, he couldn’t find a Rabbi to help him with the get, x-rays taken of his chest aren’t very promising, Larry’s wife threw him out of his own house and the one lawyer who had figured out a loop hole in the law to help Larry with his divorce case, keeled over and died. This guy was having a really bad week. If you think this sound really funny, you’d be right. It does sound funny. As awful at it is, you just can’t help but laugh because deep inside you know that it just isn’t possible for anyone to go through so much without picking up a TEC 9 and spraying a few Ben Kelevs.

This must mean that A Serious Man is a great movie. Not so fast! I thought it was going to be a great movie, especially since every film critic loved it. I did not! The movie was so boring! I just don’t know how they found a way to make this great idea so mind numbingly boring. Maybe this wasn’t a good idea to begin with. I don’t know. I just found myself hoping the movie would end soon. However, don’t let the fact that I didn’t like this movie prevent you from watching it. If you are a Coen fan, watch the movie and come to your own conclusion. After all, you could do worse! Plus there were a couple of really funny scenes. Hopefully, you’ll like the movie and not want your money back like another friend of mine. If you’re not a Coen Brothers fan, don’t bother with it.

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