Running Time: 105 mins
Director: Joel & Ethan Coen
Cast: Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Kind, Sari Lennick
Release Date: 19th November 2009
Directors Joel and Ethan Coen have over 15 movies under their belts, ranging from the mainstream comedy “Intolerable Cruelty” to the Oscar winning “No Country For Old Men”. They vow not to stick to formula, meaning each of their movies are different to the rest. This is proved once again with their latest film – the heavy black comedy “A Serious Man”.
Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg) is a Jewish university professor living in 1960’s suburban America. That might sound fairly boring, but in fact, Larry’s life is in turmoil. His wife Judith (Sari Lennick) wants to leave him for his best friend, his deadbeat brother (Richard Kind) won’t leave his couch, his children don’t respect him, and he might not get that big promotion at work. All these events prompt Larry to visit Rabbis and question why God would be punishing him, when he hasn’t done anything wrong.
“A Serious Man” is not for everyone. There are no big star names, the plot is complex, and the tone is pretty miserable. But all those elements are why the film is one of their best. It feels like a labour of love for the Coen brothers, and it’s easy to see that this world would have been similar to the one they grew up in.
The performances from all the cast are incredible, particularly Michael Stuhlbarg, who is perfectly suited for the role of Larry. And the fact that they are all unknowns really help you to believe the characters and immerse yourself in the story.
The meaning behind the plot is very much open to interpretation, and I believe every audience member will take something different. It’s a comedy, definitely not a laugh out loud one, but superbly written and heavily ironic.“A Serious Man” will certainly not be a big box office earner but it’s not to be missed. It’s the type of film you will keep thinking about days after you’ve seen it; this is the Coen brothers at their best.
4 out of 5.
For a complete guide to what’s worth watching at the cinema, tune into Movie Juice this Saturday night 7:15pm on Movie Extra.
Reviewed by Alicia Malone.
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