A Serious Man 2009

Amazon Instant Video

(66) IMDb 7/10
Available in HD

The Academy Award-winning Coen Brothers direct this thought-provoking drama set in 1967 that centres around a Midwestern professor whose life begins to unravel when his wife sets out to leave him.

Starring:
Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Kind
Runtime:
1 hour 45 minutes

Available in HD on supported devices

A Serious Man

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Comedy
Director Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Starring Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Kind
Supporting actors Fred Melamed, Adam Arkin, Jeff Melamed, Sari Lennick, Aaron Wolff
Studio Focus Features
BBFC rating Suitable for 15 years and over
Rental rights 48 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By haunted on 9 Jun 2011
Format: DVD
On the face of it "A Serious Man" is a movie showing the life of a forty something Jew Larry Goplik falling apart. His wife announces that she is seeing a much older man and wants a divorce. His teenage children ignore him. He is a professor at a local college and his hopeful of getting tenure. However one of his students is very unhappy with his grades and seems to be threatening to throw a spanner in the works.

He is at his wits end and decides to ask his local rabbi for advice. He eventually sees (or rather tries to see) three different rabbis, with mixed results to say the least.

Like all Coen movies it is brilliantly made and has some great darkly comic moments. You get the feeling the Coens are toying with the viewer though. They hint that great revelations will occur but finish the movie with an ambiguous (but probably appropriate) ending. They also throw in an apparently unrelated opening scene, set in a Jewish village in pre war Poland.

After his Bar Mitzvah Larry's son does one better than his father and meets the most senior rabbi, renowned for his learning and wisdom. After quoting from a "Jefferson Airplane" song the rabbi's main piece of advice is to "be a good boy".

Perhaps that's what the Coen's are saying in this movie. Good and bad things happen in life. There is probably no grand design to it. All you can do is to try "to be a good boy".
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rodolfo Pena Garcia on 4 Dec 2010
Format: DVD
I can't say that this is a typical Coen Brothers' film because all of their films seem to be one of a kind. But, there is an element which can be said to be common to all: Life is steeped in confusion, unpredictable, and at many times unjust. Many of the elements of this film are better appreciated if you are of the Jewish religion or are familiar with Jewish customs, but that does not mean you can't enjoy it if you are not. I think that the Nihilist ideas expressed in it are familiar to all: when we ask, what is the meaning of Life, we all seem to come up with the same answer: there is no answer, just a deafening silence from the Universe, God, Buddha, your religion, or whatever you choose to place your faith on. The most unsettling thing about the film is the ending, which leads me to believe that it had a lot to do with the lack of success in the commercial market. But, one thing you can rely on in a Cohen film is that the acting and production values will always be dead-on, and this is no exception. I did miss, though, some of their "regulars": Steve Buscemi, Francis McDormand, Jon Plito, et. al.
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37 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Te Stringer on 21 May 2010
Format: DVD
This film came as a great relief to me... I was seriously convinced that my beloved Coens had lost it altogether. I hadn't really enjoyed one of their films since The Man Who Wasn't There; Intolerable Cruelty, The Ladykillers, Burn After Reading and yes, even the lauded to the high heavens No Country For Old Men all left me cold. This film was the first time in a decade I didn't bother going to the cinema to see a new Coen Brothers film, because I just expected more disappointment. I eventually rented it last week, and it massively exceeded my expectations, being fresh, funny and consistently entertaining.
It tells the story of a middle aged jewish man in the sixties whose life is falling to pieces- his wife is unfaithful, his promotion is being threatened by a disgruntled student who is prepared to resort to bribery and blackmail to attain a passing grade, his son is in love with the counter culture and is more interested in getting high and listening to Jefferson Airplane than preparing for his Bar Mitzvah (and who can blame him!) Desperate for help, he goes to see three Rabbis who, as you'd expect from a Coen Brothers film, run the gamut from a bit weird to colourfully insane.
A lot of the negative reviews here make complaints I can sympathise with; yes, it doesn't go anywhere, it has long, seemingly irrelevant bits, the beginning and ending are both confusing and obtuse and offer no explanation whatsoever; its weird for weirds sake, its pretentious, its elitist arty nonsense, too clever for its own good etc.... often with independent films I find just these kind of things extremely offputting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Keith M TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 19 Jun 2013
Format: DVD
This 2009 film written, produced and directed by the Coen brothers is a darkly comic and poignant tale of a troubled man, Jewish college professor, Larry Gopnik (played with great skill and pathos by Michael Stuhlbarg). It is (probably) typical of these two most innovative of film-makers that, in the wake of their most lauded (critically and commercially) film, 2007's No Country For Old Men, they should turn to what is a very intimate, low-key and (as is their wont) quirky tale, with a distinctly autobiographical feel (being set in late 1960s Minnesota) and a film that is totally bereft of big (or even middling) name stars. A Serious Man is, however, most definitely an 'authentic' Coen brothers film (arguably the most distinctive example in their adopted style since 2000's O Brother, Where Art Thou?), featuring some beautifully evocative cinematography from regular collaborator Roger Deakins and a typically vibrant soundtrack (including music by Jefferson Airplane and Jimi Hendrix).

In their central character, the Coens have created something of a microcosm of US small-town Jewishness, encapsulating all its frustrations with religious faith, marital fidelity, family well-being, professional ambition and paranoid dread. As I watched the film, I couldn't shake the image of one of the greatest of all Jewish film-makers, Woody Allen, and in particular his famous line (from Broadway Danny Rose), 'I'm guilty all the time and I never did anything'.
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