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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mazel tov! A seriously great movie
I watched A Serious Man and all the accompanying bonus features last night. Fans of the Joel and Ethan Cohen will love this one. I think the thing that I enjoyed the most about it was that I was not familiar with a single one of these actors before. When I watched it, I was able to immerse myself in 1967 and these characters, and believe they were real. Amazing...
Published on Feb. 13 2010 by LeBrain

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
worst. movie. ever. absolute garbage, not remotely funny, characters are boring, story goes nowhere, waste of time/money
Published 1 month ago by Interested Consumer


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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mazel tov! A seriously great movie, Feb. 13 2010
By 
LeBrain - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: A Serious Man (DVD)
I watched A Serious Man and all the accompanying bonus features last night. Fans of the Joel and Ethan Cohen will love this one. I think the thing that I enjoyed the most about it was that I was not familiar with a single one of these actors before. When I watched it, I was able to immerse myself in 1967 and these characters, and believe they were real. Amazing performances by Michael Stuhlbarg et. al. didn't hurt.

A Serious Man is a film about Larry Gopnik, a Jewish man who realizes one day that his life seems to be falling apart. His brother is sleeping on the family's couch and constantly nursing a monstrous (presumably, we never see it) cyst on his neck. His wife is leaving him for a friend of his. His son is smoking pot and signed up for the Columbia Record Club (remember that?) under his name. His daughter is always either washing her hair or out with her friends. Within this setting, innumerable irritants and stumbling blocks fall in his way, usually within the same scene. Jefferson Airplane are the background music to a heap of problems he finds himself in.

All that Larry wants is to make something of his life, and become "a serious man". Confusing advice from Rabbis, a neighbor who seems to tease him by sunbathing topless, a South Korean student offering him bribes, a neighbor encroaching on the property line, and his own faith seem to taunt him at every turn. It's not a complex story, it is character driven, comedic, dramatic and nostalgic all at once. In other words, typical Coen fare.

As is par for the course with Coen films, special features are sparse. There is a brief bit explaining all the Jewish terminology in the film done as entertainingly as possible. There's a great feature on how they made the neighborhood look exactly like 1967, and how they got the cars, costumes and locations. Finally there is a feature with the Coens and actors on the film itself, what it means, and what inspired it.

I particularly enjoyed the short story the opened the movie, some made-up Jewish folklore that the Coens came up with. It is unrelated to the rest of the movie, but is designed to act something like an opening cartoon which used to open movies in the 60's.

Enjoy. 5 stars. I hope it wins Best Picture.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Accept the mystery, March 29 2012
By 
L. Power "nlp trainer" (San Francisco) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: A Serious Man (DVD)
Throughout an illustrious career Coen brothers Ethan and Joel have crafted some very outstanding and gripping movies as writers and directors.

Humorous movies, such as Raising Arizona, The Big Lebowski; Intolerable Cruelty, and the allegorical O Brother, Where Art Thou? based on Homer's Odyssey, both featuring George Clooney in two of his best roles. Gripping and more serious movies include Millers Crossing, Blood Simple, Fargo, and No Country for Old Men.

In so doing they have received numerous nominations and won 5 Academy Awards for Best Director, Writing and Picture for No Country, and Best Director and Writing for Fargo. Actors working with them have won Academy Awards: Frances McDormand for Fargo, and Javier Bardem for No Country. Frances is married to Joel Coen.

A Serious Man marks a continuation, a departure, and a progression in their work.

In No Country, thematically, people died randomly, and suddenly, and as a friend remarked. 'they never saw it coming.' Sometimes neither did we. People spoke of a nihilistic philosophy underpinning the movie.

Nihilism proposes that life and events have no inherent meaning or purpose, no rhyme or reason. In a contrasting philosophy when someone dies one might say that's karma, or they got what they deserved, or in the greater scheme of things, it makes sense.

It's 1967, midwest suburbia. Larry Blotnick, physics professor, up for tenure, has it all figured out or so he thinks, then things happen which make him search for meaning and answers. His blackboard is filled with formulas. Shrodingers Cat can be reduced to a formula, but he admits he does not understand the story. A failing student understands the cat, but not the math.

Anonymous letters threaten Larry's tenure bid. Blackmail, bribery, Sy Ableman happen, and throw him into crisis. No formula, no uncertainty principle, can explain what's happening. Larry is immediately recognisable as the everyman protagonist. If you're like me you recognise yourself as having walked in those shoes, and yet it's all done with humor, and you will root for this guy.

You hope that he gets it on with the attractive nude sunbathing female neighbor. His quest for answers take him to three different rabbis, with three different responses, and maybe Jefferson Airplane has the answers, and maybe there is no answer, maybe there is no point, and maybe you need to 'accept the mystery.'

I predict that you will scratch your head and wonder about the first scene, and how it relates to the rest of the movie. I don't know. Maybe there is no point, and that's the point.

Even though on the surface it may not be as universally appealing as No Country, if you look a little deeper it may be the most universally relevant movie they have done.

I hope this was helfpul.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quantum Coens and the Gnosis of Life, Feb. 28 2010
By 
Harrison Koehli (Alberta, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: A Serious Man (DVD)
This is the Coens' masterpiece. Obtuse, perplexing, exceedingly clever and insightful. From the perfect synchrony between the physics concepts Gopnik teaches and the form and content of the film, to the great characters and perfect acting, A Serious Man doesn't miss a beat. It follows a physics professor whose life is falling to pieces. Ironically, his decline mirrors the very concepts he teaches to his students, but he can't quite grasp the application to the real world. He focuses on the math, but doesn't understand that the principles apply to life as well. As such, he refuses to SEE the reality of his situation, the causal factors that are leading to his crises, and that his lack of objectivity in this regard is the very thing that keeps things from getting better.

At the end of the film there is a scene where Gopnik makes a choice and the consequences are immediate, as if the phone call he receives were a collapse of quantum probabilities determined by the state of him, the observer. He constantly refuses gnosis ("I don't want Santana *Abraxas*!"), sees only the chaos, and is thus at its mercy. He is slave to the law of accident, it the terms of Mouravieff's Gnosis. The dynamic is explained in depth in Laura Knight-Jadczyk's second Wave book. When everything he thought was true turned out to be a lie, then what? He did nothing, and his life was the direct result. The film is really a meditation on the truth of the Rashi quote which adorns the opening titles: "Accept with simplicity everything that happens to you."
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very, very funny, July 15 2013
By 
Mark A. Brown "Music Lover" (Winnipeg, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Serious Man (DVD)
"What's going on?" is the serious man's lamenting question, and he never does really find out. The Coen Brothers give us a very, very funny take on life in early 1960s Minnesota, with rock 'n' roll and marijuanna making their first appearances.
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1.0 out of 5 stars One Star, Aug. 3 2014
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This review is from: A Serious Man [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
worst. movie. ever. absolute garbage, not remotely funny, characters are boring, story goes nowhere, waste of time/money
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Darkly Serious, June 7 2010
By 
Eddie Nguyen (Toronto Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Serious Man (DVD)
A Serious Man
Not being remotely Jewish was no problematic deterrent to enjoying this flick. It was darkly funny & poignant. The Cohen brothers do produce some strange & marvelous films. I really like this film & would recommend it to all 'Cohen Brothers' fans.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A SERIOUSLY FUNNY MOVIE, June 4 2011
By 
Michael P. Maciuk "Michael" (Little Current, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Serious Man [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
The movie "A Serious Man" has to be one of the funniest movies I have ever seen in my lifetime!

Professor Larry Gopnik represents the average person attempting to become a "serious man." He plays a middle class Jewish male that is going through a marital breakdown as his wife is leaving him for his best friend, someone is sabotaging his career advancement, his unemployed brother lives with him and is being investigated for criminal activity, a record of the month club finance collector is haunting him daily, a female neighbour is tempting him by sunbathing in the nude, his children are constantly at variance with each other, his son is preparing for a Bar Mitzvah and he is forced to live in a grungy neighbourhood motel with his loser brother.

In order to make sense of his misfortune, he seeks advice from three different hilarious Rabbis only to be further confused and disillusioned with his life path.

"A Serious Man" is an excellent movie and you will not regret viewing it! At times the humour is slap stick, but overall, it is extremely funny and it reminds me of the down to earth, good hearted and humorous Jews I was neighbours with, went to school with, worked with, played with and to this day are still my very close friends!

"A Serious Man" can be anyone of us, as it is based on true events that can happen to us at any time,except without the humour!
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0 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A serious pain to watch, June 10 2010
By 
IQ Crisis "RunninOnEmpty" (Crappy Canada sometime, lovely California others, warm Florida occasionaly, rarely Covent Garden) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Serious Man [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I would not recommend this BluRay-DVD. For starters the media itself would not play properly in my Sony BluRay player. Menus would not appear in response to commands. Navigation within the top menu would often 'hang' the entire BluRay player causing it to restart and begin again as if the disk was newly inserted. The movie's initial menu takes forever to load and then when 'play' is finally available (literally minutes later) it then makes the viewer endure another minute of copyright warnings, studio graphics and most annoyingly some warning about upgrading your Bluray player. This Bluray version of the movie is a major irritation even before the first character appears.

After the first character appears it doesn't get much better. Slow moving dialog from most of the characters and an especially annoying insipid spineless unsympathethic major character makes this movie very tedious to watch. It is basically a presentation of the lowest demoninators of everyday life: manipulation, insincerity, betrayal, lust, unrequited lust, stupidity, etc, etc. This movie has little to offer in terms of compelling characters, engaging plot, or even a moral undercurrent that either enlightens or inspires. In short its a dud. The academy must of nominated this movie purely based on political motivations.
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A Serious Man [Blu-ray]
A Serious Man [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray - 2010)
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