Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Serious Man

Some of my favorite movies have been made by the Coen brothers: Raising Arizona, The Hudsucker Proxy, O Brother, Where Art Thou?  These, along with Fargo and The Big Lebowski have stood the test of time and remain favorites, or at least cult classics.  So of their others haven't been too bad, but not as enjoyable for me.  Rank A Serious Man on the low end of the Coen scale.

College professor Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg) is having a rough week.  His children don't like him, his daughter wants a nose job, his son smokes pot, and his wife announces that she wants a divorce so she can marry Sy.  Larry, an observant Jew, seeks answers from his rabbis, but to no avail.  Nothing seems to be going right for him, but I don't really care.
Gopnik seeks answers to the big questions.

There is some characteristic Coen black humor here, and they cleverly recreate the cultural milieu of the American midwest in the 1960s.  There's a lot going on in the movie.  With all the social commentary and symbolism, the story takes a back seat.  This one is best viewed as an art film, where individual elements are more important than the whole.  The result is a serious disappointment.

Bottom line, 1 1/2 stars.

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