A Serious Man (2009)

Larry Gopnik, a Midwestern physics teacher, watches his life unravel over multiple sudden incidents. Though seeking meaning and answers amidst his turmoils, he seems to keep sinking. - synopsis from IMDB

 Cast  - full listing


comedy, drama

 Facts & Figures

Directed by Ethan Coen, Joel Coen.

Rated 7.0 on IMDB from 106881 votes.

Runtime: 106 min.


The Coen brothers are a unique couple of directors. Remember Burn after Reading? Or O Brother, Where Art Thou?? How can you forget No country for old men?

A Serious Man is, as so often, different from earlier work as far as setting goes, but very similarly absurd. The Coen’s seem to have a nose for those unique and excentric characters that make you want to laugh and cry at the same time. In a great portrayal by Michael Stuhlbarg, we tag along in a short period of the life of Larry Gopnik, for whom everything just seems to have taken a turn for the worst.

This movie’s strength is its weakness at the same time. It’s a brilliant display of the boring, narrow-minded and self-righteous community we are shown (which apparently is based on the community the Coen’s grew up in). The ultimate dullness and passive acceptance of events is frustrating to watch and amusing at the same time. This guy really can’t get a break, let alone a good piece of advice. All of this when everything is falling apart at work, in his marriage, with his children, etc. Maybe Hashem is trying to tell him something?

However, this is a very one-sided perspective and there is little other substance in the movie as far as storyline goes. This makes it a good watch, but it could have been even better. Let’s just wait and see what the brothers come up with next.

Seen: 25 Jan 2010

A Serious Man

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