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A Serious Man review

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A Serious Man


R 105 min



Well since the producers of THE ROAD (I loved the book) decided to open elsewhere I decided to stray off the beaten path for the latest Joel and Ethan Coen film.

Just about every film made these days fits into some kind of pigeonhole, or sub pigeonhole if you will but the Coen brothers are consistently hard to categorize.

The good thing is that one never becomes complacent and the avid filmgoer is most often treated to a surprisingly enjoyable film.

The bad thing, at least for a reviewer is that it’s damn hard to give a plot summary without blowing the surprises in store or just puzzling the reader.

Just in time for Hanukkah, this is a series of random events that take place in a 1960s era Jewish community. There are a lot of almost too strange plots in play here that add up to a very completely unique kettle of gefilte fish.

It’s a black comedy, I suppose, but that description is woefully inadequate, since it’s more engrossing than funny. This is an original Coen Brothers film not an adaptation like their recent Oscar success NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, and it’s probably that success that opened the door for this one, their least commercial flick since THE MAN WHO WASN’T THERE (another of my favorites,)

Basically it’s a few days in the life of Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg) a nebbish whose life is coming apart at the seams. I could give a blow by blow of the comedie tragique but a simple listing of instances of blackmail broken marriage suppressed emotion and battles with logic and faith won’t make much sense unless you get the opportunity to see it.

I’ll just say this is one of my favorites of the year and apologize for not being able to describe it succinctly. But it’s worth the time to seek out.

I can almost guarantee you’ll be absorbed in the situations and, fascinated by the ethnicity. It’s a culture we rarely see in film these days but it only adds spice to a story that would be a powerful one set in any sub culture. Mazel Tov.


My thanks to the Cleveland Cinemas’ Plaza Cinema at Akron’s Chapel Hill for taking a flier on the occasional oddity.






Email: westsidesteve@aol.com

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