Bloomington, Minnesota, 1967: Jewish physics lecturer Larry Gopnik is a serious and a very put-upon man. His daughter is stealing from him to save up for a nose job, his pot-head son, who gets stoned at his own bar-mitzvah, only wants him round to fix the TV aerial and his useless brother Arthur is an unwelcome house guest. But both Arthur and Larry get turfed out into a motel when Larry's wife Judy, who wants a divorce, moves her lover, Sy, into the house and even after Sy's death in a car crash they are still there. With lawyers' bills mounting for his divorce, Arthur's criminal court appearances and a land feud with a neighbour Larry is tempted to take the bribe offered by a student to give him an illegal exam pass mark. And the rabbis he visits for advice only dole out platitudes. Still God moves in mysterious - and not always pleasant - ways, as Larry and his family will find out. Written by
don @ minifie-1
The Coen Brothers are masters of their craft. Few filmmakers today can combine genres, produce stunningly original stories, and master every aspect of cinematic technique like they can. "A Serious Man" is among their most recent efforts, and it is also among their greatest.
It's a black comedy that relies more on character and situation than actual plot (somewhat like another darkly humorous Coens masterpiece, "Inside Llewyn Davis") that focuses around a middle aged Jewish father and husband whose life transforms into a storm of chaos and really, REALLY bad luck. Here, the Coens wonderfully weave elements of hilarious humor and gut wrenching tragedy all at once. Some scenes are both sad and funny, and the Coens are such masters that these two genres to not clash together in a chaotic way, but, instead, a very natural, effective way. The Coens realize that even when life is at its absolute worse, it can still be hilarious-which is really the essence of dark humor within itself. It makes the worst, most miserable aspects of being funny.
There is no real happy ending here, much is left unresolved. It is a mysterious ending, the type that audiences like to groan at. However, for a film as unique and dark as this it works quite well. There is no need for a resolution, the ending itself is powerful enough to conclude the fascinating fable. The final shot of this film is so beautiful, haunting, and indescribably sad it packs a punch for the ages.
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