Brief outline – ‘A Serious Man’ is about a family man from the 1960’s who after a series of events becomes uncertain, worried and unstable. This is a story that follows his average life and how it changes over the coarse of a short period. ‘A Serious Man’ is directed by the Coen brothers and was released in 2009.
Review – Again this was another film that I had no clue over what it was about. The short description said it was a dark comedy about a physician. This gives you a brief idea about what the film is about. I was drawn to the film because it was directed by Academy Award winners the Coen brothers. Directors of such films as ‘The Big Lebowski’ ‘No Country For Old Men’ and ‘Fargo’. Along with these films ‘A Serious Man’ is another hit. ‘A Serious Man’ is a very individual and kwerky film. The main character of the film ‘Larry’ (Michael Stuhlbarg – Boardwalk Empire) is a physics and mathematics teacher. We soon find out that his life is an ordinary one that goes in circles and nothing out of the blue ever happens in his life. Such as how the film cleverly uses the phrase ‘I didn’t do anything’. Implying it in context of an accusation, but the viewers know that it sums up his average life. The story is very focused on Larry and how he interacts with others. The importance of the Larry is reiterated through the lack of sound during the film. The Coen brothers do not use much music much during the film. This is something that works because it means that it is easier to follow the character and by using a soundtrack, it means that the viewers are not lend on to think one thing or another because a soundtrack is leading. When watching the film you are very much in the presence of Larry. It is up to you how you want to react to what is going on. Because he responds to people’s questions and theories quiet strangely at times. Larry is a very clever person, but what you feel is that he is not a very sociable person. Larry has his morals and holds them upright. And so when things start to deteriorate, you can see what happens to him when he is under pressure and how he copes with the obstacles put in front of him. The film is a journey of Larry’s life over a few weeks. The film starts off somewhere foreign and presents an old man who represents ‘bad’. This is a useful start to the film because by using this intro. It sets a theme for the rest of the film. Without a doubt Larry is the main character but the film jumps between Larry’s day and his son Danny’s day. You can see the difference between Larry and Danny and how alike or dis alike they are. Danny’s stories are ‘fun’ comedy as oppose to ‘dark’ comedy like his father Larry’s. But without a doubt ‘A Serious Man’ is without a fun film to watch.
Verdict – 8.2/10 ‘A Serious Man’ is a fine addition to the long list of Coen brother’s movies. Very different to some of their previous films. In my opinion ‘A Serious Man’ is a must watch movie. While it is in essence a ‘dark’ movie it is fun to watch. It is very much a family film and not one to watch one your own or with a friend. Michael Stuhlbarg is great as Larry. In a performance that earned him a Golden Globe nomination in the category of ‘Best performance by an actor in a motion picture – comedy or musical’. The film itself was nominated for ‘Best picture of the year’ and ‘Best original screenplay’ at the 2010 academy awards.