Sunday, 24 October 2010

Film Review: A SERIOUS MAN (2009)

Co-Writers/Co-Directors: Ethan Coen & Joel Coen
Running time: 102 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

UK release date: 20th November 2009

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 24th October 2010.


I’ll admit to being a bit of a fan of the Coen brothers’ work, particularly their early works. This one… well, I’m not too sure about. I know it has been critically acclaimed and deservedly so; it’s a very well written script and a very well made movie. But more of my thoughts later, here’s a short summary first (summary haters please omit the next paragraph).

The setting is Bloomington Minnesota 1967 where Prof. Lawrence ‘Larry’ Gopnik is a mathematics professor. He has a wife, Judith, and two teenage children, Danny and Sarah. Also staying with them, temporarily, is his brother, Uncle Arthur. Larry goes about his boring daily routine, Danny’s bar-mitzvah is coming up and he is also up for tenure at the university. One day Judith comes to him and tells him she wants a divorce. Things are not going well between them and she has become close to another man, Sy Ableman. On top of that a South Korean student is not happy about his mid-term grade and is trying to bribe him to give a pass. Judith and Sy force him out of the house had he has to take Arthur and live in a Motel. Everything seems to be going wrong for Larry. Maybe the Rabbi’s have an answer, but getting to see the right one is proving more than difficult.

There is a very slow and deliberate pace to this movie. This allows the audience to absorb the dialogue and subtleties woven into the plot. Great performances all round, particularly from Michael Stuhlbarg as Prof. Lawrence ‘Larry’ Gopnik, Richard Kind as Uncle Arthur and Fred Melamed as Sy Ableman. Honourable mentions go to; Sari Lennick as Judith, Aaron Wolff as Danny and Jessica McManus as Sarah.

There was a lot in the movie I didn’t understand. Lots of references to things that a follower of the Jewish faith might understand, but not your average person, or ‘goy’. This, I found a bit distracting. Also, I felt there was no resolution at the end of the film, a habit the Coens have got into recently. The combination of these two factors made the film slightly disappointing for me, but still, recommended.

My score: 7.4/10

IMDb Site:
Official Site:

1 comment:

awesome dragon said...

the resolution is the obvious, we just don't need to see it because endings are cliché these days honestly. the story itself is a modern retelling of the biblical story of Job.