A Serious Man Reviews
June 25, 2014
A Serious Man is a movie that intrigued me from when I first heard about it. Some call it the Coen brothers best and some say it's a complete bore. One thing that everyone agreed on is that is it is the single most Jewish film ever made. With my mother's side having the surname Goldberg I decided to watch it and not only did I enjoy it but loved it. A Serious Man is darkly hilarious, splendidly acted, and sadistically brilliant.
July 4, 2010
I donâ??t get it. A dark comedy without the comedy. Just two hours of pain.
September 22, 2010
I you read somewhere that this film was a comedy (like i did), you were lied to, this film is about as funny as a carrot. What it is though is a thought provoking feature on circumstance. and a great example of how to use licensed music in a film. one thing can't be debated though, Stuhlbarg deserved an oscars nod. Many will be turned off by it's coldness, but talk about it with your friends, compare notes and see if your opinion of the film isn't elevated
|Cameron W. Johnson||
February 13, 2011
"Some people hope for a miracle cure, some people just accept the world as it is, but I'm not willing to lay down and die, because I am a serious man!" I decided to go with "An Innocent Man", because Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Simple Man" is way too clichéd, and, well, Billy Joel fits the very Jewish themes. If nothing else, the Coens are serious about firmly reminding us of their being Jewish with this film, although that's not to say that you should go in expecting "Barton Fink". Shoot, don't even go in expecting "A Single Man", another 2009 drama, because where that little slice of the '60s was about a homosexual thinking about killing himself because he's so worried about his lover dying, this film is just about some Jew worried about not being taken that seriously. I don't know about the lead, but yeah, this film isn't to be taken quite as seriously as "A Single Man", or even "Barton Fink", which featured John Goodman, who is always delightful, even when he's playing a crazy guy. Well, you won't be seeing Goodman anywhere around here, because this film is not simply about the Coens going back to their Jewish roots, but about the Coens going so far back into their filmmaking roots that the biggest celebrities they got is Simon Helberg in a cameo (Kevin Sussman popped in somewhere in "Burn After Reading", so the Coens must be "Big Bang Theory" fans) Richard Kind, the guy who played the City Hall press secretary in "Spin City"... and the hypochondriac patient who showed up every now and then on "Scrubs", for those who don't remember "Spin City". Well, I don't know if this film is all that worthy of big-name celebrities' times, because even though it is decent, being by the Coen brothers, for Abraham's sake, it has some, if you will, "serious" issues (Oy vey).
Characterization has always been a distinct trait in most of the Coens' films, whether it be unique or questionable, and here, whether it be because the originality has toned down through the years, or simply because they're not so inspired here, the Coens undercook most everyone in this character roster as thin, with more thematic depth than human layering. Now, I'd be a little more willing to embrace the characters' being especially thinly drawn in this Coen brothers film, if the characters weren't also particularly unlikable, because even though there's a certain charm even to the ideas for Michael Stuhlbarg's leading Larry Gopnik and Richard Kind's Arthur Gopnik characters, from aggravating teenagers to awkward, arrogant and pretentious adults, just about all supporting characters try your patience with idiosyncrasies that are often too questionable to embrace in what I suppose is a satirical narrative. Quite frankly, if this film does boast satire, like most all of the Coens' other dark comedies, it's hard to figure out what it is, and that makes the series of over-the-top melodramatics which characterize this narrative kind of distancing, as surely as they are monotonous. This monotony seems to derive from all of the excessive storytelling bloating's clashing with a certain thinness to the story concept itself, which is borderline inconsequential in its dramatic minimalism, which finds the film dragging along with nothing to do, until it ultimately has the audacity to come down to yet another Coen cop-out of an ending that slam-bangs the wrapping of some plot layers, and leaves the others with many - and I mean many - untied loose ends. The film meanders, even on paper, and when it comes to the Coens' directorial interpretation, they make pacing issues all the worse with that trademark extreme thoughtfulness which, of course, hardly has any material to draw upon, leading to atmospheric cold spells that range from bland to near-tediously dull. There problems every which way throughout the film, which has the nerve to drag and bore, giving you time to think about how its story is too do-little to survive all of the nuisances as decent, at least easily. Well, in the end, as messy as the film very much is, the Coens at least work hard enough to sustain an adequate degree of engagement value, particularly with aesthetic value.
Quiet and dry, the film doesn't play with its soundtrack that much, but when it does, whether it be delivering on lovely original score pieces by Carter Burwell, or on archived, mostly '60s tunes, musical value livens things up a bit, while Roger Deakins further colors things up a bit with subtly distinguished and often handsomely well-lit cinematography. These subtly colorful notes from a soundtrack and Deakins' cinematography haven't been this sharp in a Coen brothers film in some time, even going back before "No Country for Old Men", and that helps in reinforcing a sense of competence which saves the final product, though not quite as directly as the Coens' directorial efforts. The Coens continue to gradually grow lazier with their storytelling with this film, but they catch second wind in plenty of places, playing with the aforementioned soundtrack and cinematography, in addition to snappy editing that they themselves handle under the alias of Roderick Jaynes, in a stylish fashion which entertains just fine, while thoughtful touches prove to be dramatically effective, but only when material actually comes into play. The story concept is kind of thin, as well as overwrought with overblown convoluted and monotonous layers, - many of which are obnoxious and improbable - but there is something rather intriguing about this portrait on the struggles of a good man who must come to realize his backbone as a serious man to overcome the challenges before him, and if such intrigue is ever done justice, it is, of course, by the Coens' script, which is both thin and overblown, and altogether not nearly as inspired as the usual Coen brothers script. With that said, it's hard for the Coens to really misfire as writers, and sure enough, there's still plenty of wit to their dialogue and subtle bite to their humor, and that colors up this dark comedy about as much as characterization that, when not thin and overwrought, does, in fact, deliver on effective idiosyncrasies that craft refreshing characters, brought to life by performances which are more inspired than the material given the performers. Few, if any member of this cast is all that worth writing home about, but there are plenty of worthwhile performances, whether it be from the smoothly charismatic Fred Melamed, or from the dramatically moving, if underused Richard Kind, or from the seriously Joaquin Phoenix-looking leading man Michael Stuhlbarg, whose light charm and ever-intensifying portrayal of a frustrated man who feels brutally cheated, for all his goodness. The film has plenty of strengths, as surely as it has plenty of flaws, and just as the missteps are great enough to threaten the final product with mediocrity, the strengths are commendable enough to make an adequately engaging, if lacking Coen comedy.
קוילעלדיק (Oh, it's so Jewish), too many characters are thinly drawn and obnoxious in a thin story so overwrought with histrionics and slow spells - made all the more challenging by crushing dull spells in directorial atmosphere - that the final product all but collapses into mediocrity that is itself challenged enough by a solid soundtrack and visual style, some colorful direction and writing, and endearing performances - particularly by leading man Michael Stuhlbarg - to make the Coen brothers' "A Serious Man" a serviceably charming and sometimes genuinely effective dark comedy, despite its falling flat in a number of places.
2.5/5 - Fair
June 5, 2014
No Jews were harmed in the making of this motion picture.
Kinematografija zasluzuje stotku, a Roger Deakins je bog i svetinja.
May 28, 2014
A movie about a middle-aged man who can't get anything right for himself. This excellent take on family life in the 1950s involvs some very quirky characters in different quirky situations with a melancholy tone and harsch truth about our own personal lifes'. Great performances led by very nice directing from the Coen Brothers.
May 15, 2014
A Serious Man is a grim dark comedy with questions about faith, family and misfortune with the feel of the Coen brothers' movies.
May 4, 2014
I think many mistake maturity for a sense of existential boredom in this Coen brother film - there is no doubt that it is well shot, acted, and scripted - but its humour is hit-and-miss and it does seem too bored.
April 22, 2014
Simultaneously the most-Coen and the least-Coen of the Coen Brothers movies. While it's their crime dramas that get them the most exposure, and their comedies that get them the most die-hard fans, A Serious Man seems to be their midlife crisis film. Viewer beware: Go into this with an attitude of introspection, not one of pure entertainment. You will be disappointed otherwise.
August 6, 2012
A black humor film from the Cohen, about a Jewish physics teacher in a Jewish school that has a bad time in her life and question himself about life sense. A humorous look at the Jewish community in USA.
April 15, 2014
It may make a bit of no sense, but 'A Serious Man' has humor which is dark, but charming in a way.
April 12, 2014
The movie and its name fully illustrate the essence of black humour: why so serious?
April 7, 2014
Funny, and intelligent. Though perhaps too intelligence and not enough fun.
April 6, 2014
A dark story which in places is hard to find funny but somehow it is. Even when Larry thinks he is doing the right thing everything keeps falling apart. Makes you consider why?
March 28, 2014
Los Coen, otra vez, en su máxima expresión. En su primera película tras la aclamada No Country For Old Men, nos sorprenden con A Serious Man, una cinta que trata de una persona común, con problemas comunes. Para sacarse el sombrero es la actuación de Michael Stuhlbarg, quien pese a ello, parece no poder consagrarse nunca. Recomendable, pero ojo con el final, sin desilusionarse, son los Coen.
March 25, 2014
A great darkly comedic film that's almost charming in it's own depressing manner. That's the best way I can put it.
March 25, 2013
The Coen's most challenging and thematically-dense film. Stuhlbarg and Melamed are absolutely brilliant.
March 8, 2014
March 6, 2014
Usual weirdness from the Coen brothers.....well acted and I sort of enjoyed it . . . but very weird and totally off-the-wall, nonetheless!!
February 23, 2014
Maybe there isn't answers to every single question out there; we should just learn to "accept the mystery".