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A Serious Man 2009

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

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Comedy
Director Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Starring Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Kind
Supporting actors Fred Melamed, Sari Lennick, Aaron Wolff, Jessica McManus, Peter Breitmayer, Brent Braunschweig, David Kang, Benjamin Portnoe, Jack Swiler, Andrew S. Lentz, Jon Kaminski Jr., Ari Hoptman, Alan Mandell, Amy Landecker, George Wyner, Michael Tezla, Katherine Borowitz, Steve Park
Studio Focus Features
BBFC rating Suitable for 15 years and over
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: DVD
After a period in which my love for the Cohen brothers' movies was diminished, mainly due to the feeling that their own personal style I very much admired in movies such as Barton Fink, Fargo, Raising Arisona, The Miller Crossing and Hudsucker Proxy was beginning to suffer from repetition, I welcomed with enthousiasm what I sensed as their comeback (in my heart, at least), not with the generally acclaimed No country for the old man, but with Burn after reading, which I considered fantastic. And then along came A serious man, which in my opinion, is their definite masterpiece and also a rare film for these times of mediocracy. It is not the meanings, it is not the form, it is not the story; in the greatest of films it' s the feeling that you have a unique experience of another world, created by the minds and the hands of some genuine masters. This is the case of A serious man. Absolutely fabulous for all the possible reasons. A movie to die for.
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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 Verified Purchase
Sheer pretentious drivel - the sort of film that only real film nerds would like due to it being by the Coen brothers. A comedy? No way. Amusing even? No. Too many Jewish lifestyle leanings and phrases to further confuse the viewer as to what the film is about. Avoid
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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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