A Serious Man - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

A Serious Man Reviews

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Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out
November 16, 2011
| Original Score: 5/5
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Ben Kenigsberg
Time Out
November 16, 2011
| Original Score: 5/5
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Dave Calhoun
Time Out
November 16, 2011
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
July 6, 2010
The Coens may play around with that tradition, they may disparage it or mock it. But they are irrevocably a part of it, and that's all to the good.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Rafer Guzman
Newsday
July 6, 2010
If you're puzzled by the Coen Brothers' horrific comedies, this is the closest thing you'll get to an explanation.
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Ben Walters
Time Out
November 20, 2009
The film's potency is rooted in quiet precision and detailed realisation. Roger Deakins's typically polished photography gives an oppressively hard edge to Midwestern suburbia.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
October 21, 2009
Their most inside joke ever, it leaves you with a lot to chew on, if not a lot to enjoy.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
October 16, 2009
Mostly, A Serious Man succeeds because it engages questions worth asking. What is integrity? Does our atavistic need for stories illuminate the meaning of life or further obfuscate it? What does it mean to be good and how are we to achieve it?
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Tom Long
Detroit News
October 16, 2009
Life is pain. Life is funny. Things happen randomly, with no purpose or reason that can be discerned. Searching for answers is futile. Enjoy what you can.
Full Review | Original Score: A
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
October 16, 2009
This parable of the welcome-unwelcome guest is less a key to the ensuing domestic drama than a teasing reminder of the traditional roots of the brothers' singular skill with humor and violence.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
October 16, 2009
Resolutely paced, impeccably staged and lensed, it's comedy for people who can laugh at poetic car wrecks, obtuse rabbis, mysterious dental messages and an endlessly drained cyst.
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Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
October 15, 2009
Embrace the mystery, the Coens tell us. At the same time, they can't resist pulling the rug out from under our feet.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Calvin Wilson
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
October 14, 2009
Is A Serious Man funny? Absolutely - but in much the same way as the old joke about a fellow who loved to hit his own head because it felt so good when he stopped.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Christopher Kelly
Dallas Morning News
October 9, 2009
It's the best film of their careers.
| Original Score: 5/5
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Christopher Orr
The New Republic
October 9, 2009
Humor and empathy alike have trouble flourishing in the grim narrative soil the Coens provide, in which every cosmic joke is a black one.
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
October 9, 2009
It's hard to love a movie that makes you feel anxious and miserable, and yet it's impossible not to respect a movie that has that power.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
October 8, 2009
It has all the earmarks of a personal statement, one of those movies that their biographer will use to connect the dots after they're gone.
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
October 8, 2009
While there are plenty of oddball touches, some mystifying (like the Yiddish-language prologue, set in a Polish shtetl and seeming to have little to do with what follows it; and the abrupt ending) -- we see in it some genuine fondness for the characters.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
October 8, 2009
Can art come from jadedness? Will the brothers ever "mean it''? A Serious Man forces the issue in ways that will either floor you or drive you batty.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
October 8, 2009
A Serious Man has a script, a clarity and a tone that come from craftsmen and wits (dour ones, but wits all the same) at the peak of their game.
| Original Score: 4/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
October 8, 2009
This isn't a laugh-laugh movie, but a wince-wince movie. Those can be funny, too.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
October 2, 2009
Since everyone is turned into such a caricature, the answers feel optional. It's hard to forget that Larry's fate is being controlled not by God or luck or even his own worst instincts, but by the Coens.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
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Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
October 2, 2009
A seriously funny film about an angst-ridden Jewish professor seeking the answers to life's questions and getting a metaphysical pie in the face.
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
October 2, 2009
[The Coens have made] their most personal, most intensely Jewish film, a pitch-perfect comedy of despair that, against some odds, turns out to be one of their most universal as well.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
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James Rocchi
MSN Movies
October 2, 2009
Funny but, yes, also thought-provoking and moving, 'A Serious Man' may be among the Coens' finest works and stands as one of the funniest, freshest and smartest movies of 2009.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
October 2, 2009
A Serious Man is a wonderfully odd, bleakly comic and thoroughly engrossing film.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
October 2, 2009
What do the Coen brothers want of us? More specifically, what do they want us to think of the repellent people in this pitilessly bleak movie?
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Todd McCarthy
Variety
October 2, 2009
A Serious Man is the kind of picture you get to make after you've won an Oscar.
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Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
October 2, 2009
To absorb God's body blows, this disquieting, haunting movie says, is to be fully alive. To do otherwise could kill you.
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
October 2, 2009
A Serious Man may not have the starry casts of the Coens' more recent films, but it has plenty of heart and soul. It's a movie mitzvah.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
October 2, 2009
This seriously funny movie, artfully photographed by the great Roger Deakins, is spiritual in nature, barbed in tone, and, oh, yeah, it stings like hell.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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A.O. Scott
New York Times
October 2, 2009
A Serious Man is, like its biblical source, a distilled, hyperbolic account of the human condition. The punch line is a little different, but you know the joke. And it's on you, of course.
| Original Score: 4.5/5
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Laremy Legel
Film.com
October 2, 2009
This is the world the Coens delve into with each and every film, and yes, it's a total nightmare. They may do it with style and a smirk, but we should always consider the larger questions they're asking.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
October 2, 2009
That song (Jefferson Airplane's Somebody to Love), which becomes a sort of mantra to the movie, is the key to understanding what the Coens are after: When the truth is found to be lies, and all the joy within you dies, you better find somebody to love.
| Original Score: 4/4
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
October 1, 2009
Man plans, God laughs, and so do the Coen brothers.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Dana Stevens
Slate
October 1, 2009
An exquisitely realized work; the filmmakers' technical mastery of their craft, always impressive, has become absolute.
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
October 1, 2009
So which is it: a simply pointless existence? Or a world so complicated, we can't grasp the point? If you think the Coens are going to try and answer that question, you haven't seen many of their movies.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Noel Murray
AV Club
October 1, 2009
A Serious Man is wholly a Coen brothers movie, in that it's full of exaggerated characters and comic cruelty, anchored to a way of looking at the world that seems to posit a fundamental absence of meaning.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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Christy Lemire
Associated Press
September 30, 2009
Watching and wondering how and when he'll snap provides dark humor, yes -- we're glad we're not this poor guy -- but also a mounting sense of unease, and it should provoke lengthy and serious debate about the nature of faith.
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
September 30, 2009
A Serious Man isn't perfect -- I'm still grappling with the powerfully offbeat ending -- but it's cathartic to see the Coens finally show you a bit of who they are, or at least where they came from.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
September 30, 2009
Represents another change in course for the brothers, and it will reside in the upper echelon of their titles, although a little below the top.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Rex Reed
New York Observer
September 30, 2009
Not one of their best films, but because of its sincerity and the parsing away of sentiment and pretension, it is, in many ways, one of their most likable.
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Ella Taylor
Village Voice
September 29, 2009
The production notes are larded with the Coen Brothers' disclaiming protestations of affection for their hapless characters, but make no mistake: We're being invited to share in their disgust.
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David Denby
New Yorker
September 28, 2009
As a piece of moviemaking craft, A Serious Man is fascinating; in every other way, it's intolerable.
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David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
September 28, 2009
A Serious Man is not only hauntingly original, it's the final piece of the puzzle that is the Coens.
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
September 14, 2009
That leaves us in limbo -- laughing yes, but also wondering what to make of a film so simultaneously engaging and disengaging.
| Original Score: 3/4