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A Serious Man 2009

Amazon Instant Video

(80) IMDb 7/10
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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 to watch on supported devices.

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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

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 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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Format: DVD
Here is a movie that is gently hilarious (if that even be conceivable!) but in a loving and usually quite tenderly understated manner. In 1967 the father, Larry, of a middle class Jewish Midwestern (Minneapolis area) family, is an earnest man whom misfortune besets, often to considerable financial as well as personal worry, in terrible but cinematically humourous ways. His run of bad luck sets in at the movie's outset when Larry's wife Judith demands a ritual divorce to marry anew, to his frumpish colleague Sy, who is reputed to be "a serious man" ("really?" the viewer cannot help but to ask himself), but who has been "cattin' around" with Judith. Further along, among much, much else, occurs Larry's son Danny's bar mitzvah, in which the 13 year-old boy participates, in a dazed stupor, while "stoned" on marijuana. So it goes, through a miscellany of merriment (for the viewer, not for Larry) throughout this motion picture, right the very end (as the ever-earnest husband and father is informed that he just may have some dreadful ailment, the nature of which the film does not reveal as it draws thereupon to a very "up-in-the-air" conclusion. Larry's problems are, variously, marital and familial, professional, legal, financial, at times riotously physical, and so on -- and on. Well, at least things never are quite so awful as they are in the nightmares that plague Larry's sleep!

Nothing much of any of this resolves itself. What goes on in the film is to pile one peculiar incongruity upon more of the same for the entire length of it. I suppose that many viewers will find the movie baffling or mystifying. Certainly, it helps to be some kind of, or at least to be some degree of, Jewish to understand all of this, or otherwise to have other familiarity with Jewish culture and folkways.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Denno on 12 Dec. 2014
Format: Blu-ray
I will admit, like many other reviewers, have really struggled with some of the Coen Brothers recent output, with some few diamonds nestling in otherwise medicore (and sometimes poor) output. However, after really wanting to like this, I have to say, although it has some good points it is ultimately unsatisfying. I think it is important to point out, although darkly humerous this is not a comedy. What it does try to be I feel, is a film about the musings of life and how things can turn against someone and implode. Whether or not you like this film , I think, lies within whether or not that sounds like a good story to tell over almost two hours. For me, after an hour I had seen enough and it limped to an end. There are some moments of interest - the charachters though not always likeable are sometimes hugely entertaining, partcularly the 'other man' and the first rabi and there are some very dark and funny moments. Overall, a partial succesful but as I said before ultimately unsatisfying
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37 of 44 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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