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DVD Review: A Serious Man

February 9, 2010

A Serious Man – An Alliance Films Release

http://www.focusfeatures.com/focusfeatures/film/a_serious_man/

DVD Release Date: February 9th, 2010

Rated 14A for coarse language, violence, and a sexually suggestive scene.

Running time: 106 minutes

 

Joel and Ethan Coen (dir.)

 

Joel and Ethan Coen (writer)

 

Carter Burwell (music)

 

Richard Kind as Uncle Arthur

Michael Stuhlbarg as Larry Gopnik

Fred Melamed as Sy Ableman

Sari Lennick as Judith Gopnik

Aaron Wolff as Danny Gopnik

Jessica McManus as Sarah Gopnik

 

Our reviews below:

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A Serious Man DVD Review By John C.

**** (out of 4)

Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlberg) is stuck in the painful monotony of bad luck, all the while just trying hard to be a serious man.  His brother (Richard Kind) won’t move off his couch and his wife is seeing someone else, (the annoyingly laid-back Sy Abelman).  His daughter wants money for a nose job, and his son keeps needing him to adjust the TV antenna, because “F-Troop is fuzzy.”

 

Larry keeps asking the age-old question of why me?  But in true Coen Brother’s fashion, strange things continue to happen.  He consults the help of several rabbi’s, each one giving him seemingly innocuous, but priceless advice.  Perhaps he just needs to realise that – in the words of the second Rabbi, God doesn’t owe us the answers.

 

Some may find the last scene to be annoying or confusing, but I thought it was genius.  A Serious Man is brilliantly comedic and darkly brilliant.  Both overtly religious and profoundly poetic, it’s rare to see a film of such subject matter even get a semi-mainstream release.  Very deserving of its Best Picture nomination, A Serious Man is a serious masterpiece.

 

The DVD includes three featurettes – on the making of the film, how they got the look of 1967 Minneapolis and another on the Hebrew and Yiddish languages.

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A Serious Man DVD Review By Erin V.

**** (out of 4)

In A Serious Man, Larry is trying to live as a serious man, get tenure at his job as a professor at the university, keep his family together, and prepare his son for his Bar Mitzvah. Unfortunately, he finds out that his wife is leaving him for Sy Ableman, of all people, who truly is ‘a serious man’.

 

This is one of the best films of last year, a fact that was recognized by the Academy earlier this month with a well deserved Best Picture nomination. The acting is all solid, the music fits really well, and the story is executed with classic Coen style. I would definitely recommend you checking this one out. It’s a dark comedy, and not everyone will enjoy it as much as I did, but it is well worth at least checking out for yourself.

 

As an added bonus, the disc also includes three extras: ‘Becoming Serious’ – a look at the creative vision behind the film, ‘Creating 1967’ – a look at the Minneapolis neighbourhoods and set pieces for the film, and ‘Hebrew and Yiddish for Goys’ – a look at the languages.

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A Serious Man DVD Review By Nicole

**** (out of 4)

The Coen Brothers have returned with this quirky and funny comedy. From the opening scene, we can tell that the Gopnik family is cursed. The film now flashes forward to 1967, when physics professor Larry Gopnik struggles with his crazy life. Larry’s wife is cheating on him. His brother is mooching off the family. Larry’s son is always interrupting him to complain about the TV reception. To top it all off, someone is trying to jeopardize Larry’s career. So Larry consults three different rabbis, to try to make sense of his life. With a hilarious story, great writing, and lots of quirky characters, it’s no wonder this comedy has been nominated for Best Picture.

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A Serious Man DVD Review By Maureen

**** (out of 4)

A Serious Man is a seriously smart and funny movie. The story revolves around Physics teacher Larry Gopnik (Michael Stulbarg), his cheating wife, their two teenage kids, and his unemployed brother. All while his marriage is falling apart, Larry tried to do the right things, be a serious man on his journey to try and sort things out for himself.

 

What works for A Serious Man is the low key, quirky humour. Each of the characters are so well written and really fun to watch. The acting is top notch. A Serious Man was fun to watch in the theatre but is the kind of movie that you can watch more than once and always get more out of it each time. It’s not surprising A Serious Man is nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.  Coen brother fans especially will want to add this one to their collection.

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A Serious Man DVD Review By Tony

**** (out of 4)

A Serious Man is the fictional story of a Jewish physics professor living in suburban Minnesota in the late 1960s, which happens to be the family background of the Coen brothers, making this their most personal film. Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlberg) is having a terrible time, presumably due to the dybbuk’s curse on his ancestors shown in a Yiddish language prologue. He can’t get rid of the unemployed brother living in his house, while his wife is leaving him, and his kids have their own problems. His tenure is threatened by anonymous letters, and for a passing grade a Korean student has given him the impossible choice of accepting a bribe or being fired for accepting it. Finally, as he awaits a possible life threatening diagnosis, he wonders whether he can ever be a mensch, i.e. a serious man.

 

With a brilliant script, excellent mainly Jewish cast and every detail of 1960s suburbia lovingly reproduced, A Serious Man is full of wit and a joy to watch, another triumph from its quirky writer/directors.

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Consensus: Although not for everyone, A Serious Man is another great dark-comedy from the Coen brothers, that is very deserving of its Oscar nomination for Best Picture. **** (Out of 4)

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