Tag: Michael Stuhlberg

A Serious Man

January 16th, 2010 — 2:15am

A Serious Man* * * *
A Serious Man
– rm – This Coen Brothers film is a painful comedy, which takes place in a Minnesota Jewish community in 1967. Larry Gropnik, played by Michael Stuhlberg is a midwestern physics professor who is trying to be a good guy and a devout Jew. He feels all is as it should be with his children and his wife as well as his with his quirky brother who lives with them. He is preparing for his son’s bar mitzvah, believes he properly handles a student who doesn’t like a final grade and deals with the everyday problems of neighbors and TV reception. But then his life begins to unravel. Everything seems to be going wrong and although he seeks the wisdom of three rabbis, none are in a position to explain how Hashem – the word for God – could let this happen. Joel and Ethan Coen who have written, produced and directed this movie have captured the period with the houses, cars, synagogue and dress as well as the essence of the characters. If non-Jews created the film, they might even be called anti-Semitic. The Coens have satirized these Jews and their values to the point of a mockery. The opening of the movie shows us a brief scene in an 1800s European Jewish shtetl where the beliefs and values of the people living there would have been viewed as ridiculous to the Jews of the 1960s, as many now will view those of the people portrayed in this movie. Each generation can look back at their parents and grandparents and question how they lived their lives. In the end, whether the Coens meant it this way or not, we realize that this movie is about all cultures and about every serious man and woman’s search for the meaning of life when things begin to go wrong. This film will give you a lot of laughs but it is not a fun movie to watch. (2009)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Comedy, Drama

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