A Serious Man
Larry Gopnik is put through one serious test of faith in A Serious Man, the latest annual release from the Coen brothers. Larry seems like a good person; a family man, he doesn’t ask much from life. That all changes when his whole life starts to come apart: his wife wants a divorce, he might not get tenure because someone keeps sending in scathing letters, a student tries to bribe him, and his brother is a mess. Why is this happening to him, and does Larry have what it takes to put it all back together?
This is a movie that does not want to answer questions. If it has any lessons to teach, it’s that life happens. The film opens with really interesting scene that is purposely left ambiguous, and ends very much the same way. The Coens are definitely at their most philosophical here, and they’ve made a movie that pretty much demands multiple viewings.
Everything on display here is in good form, from a strong cast to the staggering cinematography of Roger Deakins. I really liked Michael Stuhlbarg, and of course I’m a long-time Richard Kind fan, but I thought Fred Melamed was really great as the wonderfully named Sy Ableman. The Jefferson Airplane heavy score was interesting too, and it helped further the 1960s feel of the picture.
This is a movie that you will be thinking about after you see it. It is a black comedy you might not laugh at too often. Most importantly, it is a Coen film and once again the brothers do not disappoint. No, it’s not No Country for Old Men 2 but it is interesting story that I think everyone should hear.