A Serious Man – 1 star
A Serious Man. I consider Fargo and No Country for Old Men to be two of the best films ever made. The only resemblance the Coen brothers’ Oscar-nominated film, A Serious Man, bears to those films is attention to detail and the potential evocation of outrage from a distinct group (in Fargo, Minnesotans took umbrage at their farcical portrayal; here, it should be Minnesotan Jews circa 1967). A Serious Man beats up on its protagonist, a Jewish professor with cretins for children, a disloyal shrew for a wife, cartoonishly unhelpful religious guidance, and various other unpleasant people who vex him, including a disgusting uncle with a cebacious cyst he must drain on a regular basis. Apparently, the protagonist is cursed, a curse handed down from his Polish ancestors, but the curse appears to be the fact that he’s Jewish. The moment it appears he can get out from under, the curse strikes again, and the film ends abruptly.
This is an unpleasant, frustratingly tedious film that may have served as some sort of the therapy for the Coen brothers (they grew up in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis, in the 60s). It has few other attributes and they shouldn’t have worked out their issues on us.