Boy, am I a fan of the Coen Brothers. ¬†This writer-director team has 14 movies to their credit and in my opinion only a few duds. ¬†But peppered in with the duds are some of the greatest movies ever made. ¬†I personally rank "The Big Lebowski" as the #1 comedy of all time. ¬†I also was thrilled that "No Country for Old Men" won Best Picture in 2007 since it was by-far my favorite of that year. ¬†But whether they're doing comedy or drama, all their movies have one thing in common; they're full of weird people doing weird things in weird scenes. ¬†Somewhere in all that bizarre chaos is a story and usually the story is good. ¬†"A Serious Man" is no exception to that even though it's not one of their best. ¬†But what I love about it was the possibility for discussion that it creates. ¬†People who hated or didn't understand "No Country for Old Men" will probably hate this too, even though it's a comedy. ¬†"A Serious Man" is basically a modernization (although it's set in the 1960s) of The Book of Job from The Bible. ¬†It's loosely based on it much like the Coen's "Oh Brother! Where Art Thou" was loosely based on Homer's "The Odyssey." ¬†This one is a little more literal though. ¬†If you're rusty on the Old Testament, Job was a good man that had his faith tested by God and¬†Satan just to see if he was pious because he was successful or because he really had faith in God. ¬†If you know how Job ends, the ending of "A Serious Man" shouldn't come as a shock either. ¬†But keep in mind that all this is going on while the weird characters are doing weird things in weird scenes. ¬†This isn't a movie for everyone. ¬†It's not knee-slapping funny but the gradually building crap storm of crazy intrigues you so much that you're willing to stick it out. ¬†And I highly recommend you do since the ending is one of the best parts of the movie. ¬†The other great part is the star, Michael Stuhlbarg, who you might know from...well...nothing. ¬†He puts on a great performance as a hurting man who's trying to keep it together and being funny while doing it. ¬†You'll know his name in the future even though you don't know him at all now. ¬†In fact the entire cast you won't know since they're all New York City stage actors. ¬†It's quite a departure from the Coen's usual stable of stars, like last year's "Burn After Reading." ¬†But again I stress that this movie isn't for everyone. ¬†In fact it tests even the most loyal Coen Brothers fan. ¬†Despite having the funniest Bar Mitzfah scene ever shot for a movie, it's overall not a gut-buster. ¬†But, just like Job, you're tested and in the end your reward is...well...the ending.
A Serious Man (Rated R)
Gavin Grade: B+