A Serious Man
A Serious Man is a dark comedy that comes off being; profound, pretentious, uncomfortable, simple and serious. It’s about actions and coincidences. It’s also about trying to find answers to life’s problems. Nominated for two Oscars this film written, directed and produced by the Coen brothers is worth watching. But be warned, it’s slow.
As the title suggests, it’s about a serious man named Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg) who has some serious life issues and begins to self-destruct. He desperately seeks for help and answers to his problems. A Serious Man opens with a meaningful quote “Receive with simplicity everything that happens to you.” This is essentially what the entire film is all about.
Larry is an ordinary Midwestern physics professor. His life begins to slowly unravel when his wife Judith (Sari Lennick) tells him she wants a divorce. At the same time, a student who desperately wants a passing grade tries to bribe Larry with money. He looks for answers from everywhere he can including religion and lawyers.
A Serious Man is domestically simple. It has a small town feeling with plenty of routine and uneventful way of living. Overall it is slow moving but it also has sudden changes of events, makes for sort of paradoxal fast paced slow moving dialog heavy film.
The cinematography was stunning and each scene was beautifully shot. It’s no surprise it won Best Cinematography at the Independent Spirit Awards, it rightfully deserved it.
What I didn’t like about the film was how many things they could have went into more detail on. It’s like they present you all these sudden incidents but don’t go into full detail about them. Specifically, Uncle Arthur’s Mentaculus book. His book filled with equations and formulas, other than it broadly shows that both Larry and Arthur are trying to find rationality in life. It really doesn’t have major relevance to the story. I wanted to know more about it.
Due to its slow moving pace and somewhat uncomfortable dialog, I don’t believe A Serious Man will win over the majority of people’s hearts. While it certainly is no masterpiece, it is definitely a quality piece of work that shouldn’t be completely overlooked.