View Full Version : TS Video Review : A Serious Man

04-26-2010, 09:45 AM
As many of you know, we are starting to have a sort of movie club on the ship. From time to time, Nerves or I will give you a movie that we haven't seen and will watch that movie within the next week. Then, on the following episode, we will discuss the film. This thread, and those like it that will come in the future, represent your chance to participate in this review. We want to hear if you have already seen the film we are reviewing, or if you watched it during the week like we did. We will be including your opinions in the show.

This week's film is A Serious Man by the Coen Brothers.

This movie, and the praise that has befallen it, utterly baffle me. It opens with a bizarre scene in which a couple living in what I assume is the 17th or 18th century are accosted by either an enormously polite demon or a misunderstood old man. The concept is interesting, but plays out slow and leaves you wondering what the hell it has to do with anything that follows. You're left to question if maybe there is some sort of deeper meaning (or some odd Jewish fable) that I am just not picking up on - pro-tip: There isn't. The Coen brothers made it all up to 'set the mood.' You can forget everything you see in the first ten minutes of this movie as it relates to NOTHING later on.

Larry Gopnik is the main character, and he's a stereotypical Jewish character if I've ever seen one. He is a Physics teacher trying to use math to explain the universe, yet his entire personal life is in shambles. His wife is leaving him for another, uber-polite Jew (and one of my favorite characters in the movie) Sy Ableman. His son is a pot smoking near-drop out and his daughter is stealing money from him to help her pay for a nose job. At school, his only bastion of sanity, he is confronted with a morale dilema that will haunt him through the entire film. He is bribed by a student to give a passing grade.

As I remember each character of the film, from the gay uncle to the red neck neighbors, I am reminded that there was a lot about this film that I really enjoyed. The characters are all fantastic (his wife and her blue-globe eyes are permanently in my nightmares) and the situations they are placed in are equally fun. All save for the Rabbis, which serve as the low points of the film - each of them seem to be cardboard cut-outs, from the young Rabbi who finds joy in his parking lot to the old one that has sequestered himself in his office, they take up entirely too much time in the movie and provide very little entertainment.

This film has garnered a ton of praise (a 79 on Metacritic and an 88 on Rotten Tomatoes), even going so far as to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar last year! As the film concluded, in what I can only surmise is an attempt to put the fear of God into Jews, I was left wondering what the fuck I was missing out on!!! The performances are great, but everything else about this film was dull and lifeless. Even the way the Coen Brothers chose to let the camera meander on face shots as the characters did nothing left me two winks away from asleep.

My opinion on the film: Skip It!

04-26-2010, 06:57 PM
Nice little review there JB but what you said just made me want to see it more so I'll be renting it.

04-27-2010, 06:20 AM
Saw it, felt a bit bored, but somehow came away with a lasting impression. I find myself thinking of this movie now and then, don't know why.