Michael Stuhlbarg in A Serious Man (2009)

Seriously Not for Me

As a professor of physics at a 1960s university Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg) finds himself up for tenure except someone has been anonymously writing to the tenure committee to sabotage his hopes. That is by no means Larry's only problems as his wife wants a divorce, his daughter is stealing from him, his son is smoking dope and his brother has decided to move in which sees them both moving to a motel when his wife moves her lover in. With so many problems in his life Larry seeks guidance from various rabbis but only ever finds himself receiving platitudes.

I have a question for you? Do certain directors receive praise for their movies not because they are good but because critics who watch a lot of movies are grateful when they come across a movie which is different to the norm. It is something which I often wonder when I watch movies by the Coen brothers as there is no denying they are craftsmen who rarely deliver a movie which isn't technically excellent. But when it comes to what those movies are about, well sometimes I just think I am on a different planet and struggle to see what is so great about them.

This is how I feel about "A Serious Man", a comically grim little movie about a man who has a bag load of problems to deal with from the wife who wants a divorce and expects him to sort it to the tenure committee informing him of the complaints. The trouble is that for the life of me I don't see what is entertaining about this grim movie which is billed as a comedy yet I rarely found anything to smile about. I could try and come up with an answer as to why this movie failed but I really am at a loss as I can't find anything in it which really worked.

What this all boils down to is that "A Serious Man" seriously didn't work for me and was another Coen brother's movie which left me at a loss to what others see is so good about it, although some of the casting amused me with Simon Helberg cast as a junior Rabbi. Yes it is different but different doesn't make a movie great.