Archive for January 14th, 2010

A Serious Man

January 14th, 2010
A Serious Man

A Serious Man

Rating: ★★★★★

Movie: A Serious Man (2009)

Studio: Studio Canal

Info: Click Here

Runtime: 105 min

Website :

Trailer :


The Coens appear to be in overdrive at present, spitting out cinematic gems with phenomenal speed and style. From the intimidating and enigmatic No Country for Old Men to the anarchic and whimsical Burn After Reading, there appears to be no end to their ability to redefine both themselves and, in the process, American cinema. A Serious Man is no exception.

The story focuses on the seemingly mundane life of Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg), a neurotic college professor with a domineering wife, two self-obsessed kids and an idiot-savant brother. Gopnik is a man who likes to live his life with precision and regularity – he is after all a mathematician. However, when the unexpected begins to muscle its way into the cosy but dysfunctional life he has created for himself, the good professor quickly starts to unravel.

Cue his cheating wife and her nauseating but hilarious suitor; cue the son who spends his time finding ways to raise cash to buy marijuana and Santana albums; cue the temptingly sexy neighbour who likes to sunbathe naked in her back yard. In search of a way to overcome his troubles, Gopnik visits a series of Rabbis, two of which offer pretty much useless advice (but the second of which provides the Coens with the opportunity to deliver one of their most dazzling cinematic sequences yet). The third, and allegedly wisest, Rabbi refuses however to see Gopnik, who becomes obsessed with the idea that, if he can just talk to the Rabbi, then his problems will be over. This desperate search for answers, as his marital and financial problems continue to mount, seems though to only lead to more questions.

Channelling the despairing spirit of The Big Lebowski’s German nihilists, A Serious Man carries forward the same brutal themes about the random nature and cruelty of life that were laid out so bleakly in No Country for Old Men. Tapping into their own Jewish upbringing, the Coens deftly manage to portray the rituals and traditions that people invent for themselves as both a perfectly worthy and a perfectly ridiculous way to spend their time. It’s as though they are saying, enjoy the show for now – but don’t forget that the big, bad wolf is waiting outside the door to devour you.

And yet, the way they tell you these cruel truths still makes you laugh and marvel at the beauty of it all.

-Paul Meade

Comedy, Drama, Family, In Theaters