Monday, March 8, 2010

A Serious Man (2009) R - 2½ Stars

Man, some movies are so hard to write a review for and this is one of them. After seeing the entire movie, I'm wondering if they really needed the beginning scene or not? I think the point of it was to show why the family is cursed but seriously, I stopped my DVD player and ejected the disc to make sure I was watching the right movie. I don't think it ended much better. Talk about dark humor, possibly understanding Hebrew might make more sense of it's Yiddish correlation with Torah's tale of Job. But, there were other parts I thought were funny, like the Rabbi telling the long story of the Goys teeth, the young son preparing for his Bar Mitzva, and the Asian student trying to bribe a higher grade. To me, it gets funnier after Sy's death but I don't think everyone will enjoy this movie. Trust me, its confusing at times but if you can stay with it, it's definitely original. Great sound track of Jefferson Airplane and even Jimi Hendrix but it seems so out of place with the rest of the movie.

It's 1967 and Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg), his wife Judith (Sari Lennick), daughter Sarah (Jessica McManus), son Danny (Aaron Wolff), and Uncle Arthur (Richard Kind), all starting their typical morning. Sarah's complaining Uncle Arthur is the the bathroom too long draining his cyst so she can't wash her hair to get ready to attend the "Hole," Danny is complaining to dad about F-Troop not coming in clearly, and the neighbor is mowing his lawn over the boundary of Larry's property.

Larry is a professor teaching the science of mathematics awaiting the news of his tenure. But Larry's "normal life" is all about to change. It starts with a student Clive Park (David Kang), who's failing his class, trying to convince Larry to allow him to take another mid term exam. Larry turns him down but notices a mysterious package of money on his desk when Clive leaves. Perplexed on how to handle the situation more strange events begin to occur for Larry. Once home and grading papers, Judith casually brings up the subject of divorce. And of all people, she's been seeing one of their close old friends of 15 years, Sy Ableman (Fred Melamed). Unsure of how to handle such a request, Larry turns to his Rabbi for the answers.

Nominated for 2 Oscars, Awards include:

2009 - Boston Society of Film Critics - Best Screenplay
2009 - Independent Spirit Awards - Robert Altman Award
2009 - National Board of Review - Best Original Screenplay
2009 - National Society of Film Critics - Best Screenplay

Focus Features
Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Writers: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Producers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
I viewed 2/10

1 comment:

Castor said...

Completely agree with your assessment. This movie was too heavy on Jewish esoteric which made it hard for non-believers. Additionally Larry never does anything to fight his own and is just laying down in the face of adversity. That made him less likable.