Posts Tagged ‘Richard Kind’

The Coen Brothers have had several hits and misses in their 20 plus-year career, but having established their aptitude they finally had the opportunity to make a movie they’ve wanted to create – A Serious Man is their “Jewish” film.

Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlberg) is a physics professor experiencing a few significant life adjustments: his wife is leaving him for his best friend; his unemployed brother is permanently occupying his couch and bathroom; a student is threatening his career; he can’t understand his children; and his beautiful neighbour enjoys sunbathing nude. Struggling to make sense of it all, Larry visits three rabbis – none of whom give him the answers he seeks. The struggle of a man to stay afloat against forces out of his control and Larry’s demeanour are reminiscent of Matthew Broderick’s character in Election.

There are quirky moments that illicit snickers, such as a rabbi younger than Larry telling him, “This is life”; meanwhile all anybody can think is what do you know about life? The hoops Larry continues to jump through in attempts to better his life are extensive, especially since none of the manoeuvres produce positive results. Furthermore, none of the advice he receives is helpful, or even applicable.

The constant juxtapositioning and parallel editing is overkill. Unfortunately, it does not prevent the film from being slow and feeling over-extended. It is difficult to become engaged in Larry even though he is in nearly every scene (which is an impressive feat on the part of Stuhlberg). Finally, the open ending has little purpose than to leave the audience without closure.

Special features include: “Becoming Serious,” a making-of featurette; “Creating 1967”; and “Hebrew and Yiddish for Goys.”

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