User Score
6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 253 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 54 out of 253
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  1. Sep 22, 2011
    8
    What the Coen Bros created here is creative humor and the sad, grim realism of a everyday life of "A Serious Man". As expected, the movie will not fail you.
  2. LeeD
    Feb 12, 2010
    6
    Seriously what are they trying to prove with this movie? yeah theyre great filmmakers and this has great qualities but it feels like the coen bros. are trying to see how many things they can deal with in one movie without solving a single thing and how many people will still like it. Dont we deserve some kind of closure in a movie?Its almost like this movie was meant to.
  3. MarcB
    Jan 4, 2010
    10
    A Serious Man, the New Coen Bros film is very funny and yet it has a very hard hitting, sock in the gut ending. Critics are saying it's darker than No Country For Old Men but I dont know about that. They definetly come clean(as if they havent already) on their pessimistic worldview and absolute disregard for religion. When the Coen Bros are on they are at the top of their game and A Serious Man, the New Coen Bros film is very funny and yet it has a very hard hitting, sock in the gut ending. Critics are saying it's darker than No Country For Old Men but I dont know about that. They definetly come clean(as if they havent already) on their pessimistic worldview and absolute disregard for religion. When the Coen Bros are on they are at the top of their game and maybe the best American filmmakers as of right now, excluding Quentin Tarantino, who I believe is the best American director of our time( never made a film that isnt great ). A Serious Man is up there with Fargo, No Country For Old Men, Raisng Arizona and The Big Lebowski as one of ... See Moretheir greats. A Serious Man is savage in its depiction of a middle class, suburban Jew trying to simply cope with life and the growing futility of religion and God to answer for a world of adulterous spouses, gambling degenarate siblings, bribery, drugs, rascist "property" violating neighbors, fuzzy televison sets, Jefferson Airplane, freshly mowed lawns, car accidents, sunbathing neighbors, selfish children, apathetic rabbis, disgruntled coworkers, horrible dreams, physics and the awesome destructive power of Mother Nature. "When the truth is found to be lies, and all the joy within you dies. Dont you want somebody to love, dont you need somebody to love, you better find somebody to love." Expand
  4. SeanK
    Feb 9, 2010
    9
    Genius in almost every way. Hilarious at points, constantly clever, powerful in its more serious moments, ingenious in its depiction of Jewish-American culture, and far more artistic than it initially seems. The acting and cinematography both should be mentioned as well, as always with Coen brothers films.
  5. ThomasM
    Mar 21, 2010
    10
    Dorothy Parker asked the question upon hearing her telephone ring: "What fresh hell is this?" Things happen. Earthquakes. Volcanos. All the Horseman, cancer, Job's dilemma and on and on.. "A Serious Man" is one version of Soul Erosion.. Sometimes "Make-Believe"... fails.
  6. WaldoJ
    Nov 1, 2009
    10
    Hands down the best film of the year so far, The Coens' latest, brilliant dark comedy is hilarious, engrossing, moving and brilliantly acted, with a great soundtrack (Jefferson Airplane!) and although those with Jewish relatives (such as I) would appreciate it best, the theme of having your life unravel and what to do about it is ultimately universal. A true gem in a year with not Hands down the best film of the year so far, The Coens' latest, brilliant dark comedy is hilarious, engrossing, moving and brilliantly acted, with a great soundtrack (Jefferson Airplane!) and although those with Jewish relatives (such as I) would appreciate it best, the theme of having your life unravel and what to do about it is ultimately universal. A true gem in a year with not enough of them. Expand
  7. JanY
    Oct 11, 2009
    10
    I love it! It's a film that reminds all of us - whatever our religions - that faith is about the Will of God, and not about the superstitions, suspicions, myths, and legends that are being passed to us. Even though the Coen Brothers' film is based on a faith and culture they are familiar with, I'm already smiling at being reminded of traditional cultural customs and I love it! It's a film that reminds all of us - whatever our religions - that faith is about the Will of God, and not about the superstitions, suspicions, myths, and legends that are being passed to us. Even though the Coen Brothers' film is based on a faith and culture they are familiar with, I'm already smiling at being reminded of traditional cultural customs and superstitions that were handed down to my siblings and me by our grandparents/parents deemed to be part of our faith! I'm also tickled by the idea that the characters live in an isolated, suburbia community of the 1960s. Boy, oh boy, I love the thought that time, education and a diverse sharing of ideas by folks in advance times and ities, may be the answer to tolerance and living with our peace of mind. The uncontrolled event at the film's finale wonderfully bring me back to the film's introduction of "Receive with simplicity everything that happens to you" as well as the story of the Dentist who finally is able to get rid of his nightmares and finds peace of mind. God wills and we have to learn to accept our own fate without nightmarish excuses! . Expand
  8. MargaretK
    Jan 1, 2010
    10
    Loved it!! Darkly funny, great cinematography and timing...literally left the theater smiling :-)
  9. CE
    Feb 18, 2010
    10
    Horribly derivative, poorly acted. Visually amazing, but if I want to be wowed by visuals I'll buy one of those Magic Eye books. I saw FernGully: The Last Rainforest, and it told the same exact story but with 100% more rapping bats and lizards. I did not enjoy this at all, but now I have a sweet pair of 3-D glasses. Great.
  10. PRESIDENTMERV
    Mar 21, 2010
    10
    A sparkling script, filled with quirky characters, which will appeal mostly to jews who love the Coen brothers' movies. Rich in black humor, the film chronicles the crises in a Jewish man's life and the empty responses offered by all around him . As his life collapses, we laugh at his misfortune and come to realize that the Coen brothers have created another masterful movie A sparkling script, filled with quirky characters, which will appeal mostly to jews who love the Coen brothers' movies. Rich in black humor, the film chronicles the crises in a Jewish man's life and the empty responses offered by all around him . As his life collapses, we laugh at his misfortune and come to realize that the Coen brothers have created another masterful movie where events spin out of control and the tragedy of the central character is both fascinating and disturbing. Expand
  11. DanM.
    Nov 10, 2009
    10
    A terrific, often hilarious, intelligent film. If root canals were really like this, I'd be down at the oral surgeon's all the time.
  12. BiffL
    Nov 11, 2009
    10
    A wonderful film about a man beset, then overwhelmed by modern life's vicissitudes, uncertainties, moral quandaries. An existentiallist tour-de-force and at the same time a burlesque revue of American Jewish life, belief and practice in the mid-20th century Midwest. Pure genius!
  13. NathanR
    Nov 18, 2009
    10
    Seen this little wonder twice now, and safe to say its neck in neck with "No Country for Old Men" as my favorite Coen Bros film. Visually speaking, the film is flawless with Roger Deakins once again proving he is the best cinematographer in the business. In terms of narrative, this film somehow manages to be incredibly bleak yet very, very funny. Then it all sinks in after its over and Seen this little wonder twice now, and safe to say its neck in neck with "No Country for Old Men" as my favorite Coen Bros film. Visually speaking, the film is flawless with Roger Deakins once again proving he is the best cinematographer in the business. In terms of narrative, this film somehow manages to be incredibly bleak yet very, very funny. Then it all sinks in after its over and you can't stop thinking about it. I would gladly see it again just to soak in more. The performances are great, the editing pitch-perfect, the story mesmerizing in a strange way. Love it, easily best film of the year. Expand
  14. marcyt
    Nov 26, 2009
    10
    I"m still recalling it and loving the memories. Brilliant acting, perfect pitch.
  15. PJP
    Oct 2, 2009
    10
    A work of great and hilarious beauty.
  16. FilipeM.
    Jan 13, 2010
    8
    The best screenplay of the year, with so many different kinds of people. I had much fun watching it, but the end blew it. Don't take me wrong, I actually like movies that leave a sense of suspense, but this just feels like unfinished. The Coen brothers made so much characters and we don't even know where most of them turned out to be when the film ends. But seriously, if The best screenplay of the year, with so many different kinds of people. I had much fun watching it, but the end blew it. Don't take me wrong, I actually like movies that leave a sense of suspense, but this just feels like unfinished. The Coen brothers made so much characters and we don't even know where most of them turned out to be when the film ends. But seriously, if you're even considering not watching, stop it, go ahead and buy your ticket. Expand
  17. KennethS.
    Feb 15, 2010
    9
    Though the rather complex plot doesn't always tie together neatly, the Coen Brothers' latest film is hilarious and a memorable, dark experience full of wonderfully odd characters. "Eminently plausible," as Sy Ableman would say.
  18. BillW
    Nov 12, 2009
    10
    I hesitate to suggest that this is now my favorite C-Bros film. Really. Yes, ti's bleak but it's SO funny and subtle while being genuinely moving and affecting. The cast is spot-on and the story is intricate with a very articulate and witty script. I felt the guy's pain! If you're married with kids you WILL get this picture. Unfortunately got put off the scent by David I hesitate to suggest that this is now my favorite C-Bros film. Really. Yes, ti's bleak but it's SO funny and subtle while being genuinely moving and affecting. The cast is spot-on and the story is intricate with a very articulate and witty script. I felt the guy's pain! If you're married with kids you WILL get this picture. Unfortunately got put off the scent by David Denby's review in the NYer... NEVER AGAIN... he's dead to me. Expand
  19. PatH
    Nov 12, 2009
    8
    Few movies deserve both the 10s and the 2s of user votes for this cruelly comic movie.
  20. GabeR
    Nov 14, 2009
    8
    If you are willing to engage the movie, it will reward you.
  21. MikeG.
    Nov 15, 2009
    9
    I suppose the Book of Job comparisons are inevitable, but A Serious Man reminds me more of Barton Fink 40 years later. Larry Gopnik wanders the world looking for answers but like Fink is mostly oblivious to the world around him both from an emotional and spiritual standpoint. Unlike Job, Gopnik's unraveling is neither accidental nor random and is a product of his own actions or I suppose the Book of Job comparisons are inevitable, but A Serious Man reminds me more of Barton Fink 40 years later. Larry Gopnik wanders the world looking for answers but like Fink is mostly oblivious to the world around him both from an emotional and spiritual standpoint. Unlike Job, Gopnik's unraveling is neither accidental nor random and is a product of his own actions or inaction. Thrown into all of this are the usual great touches by the Coens. They nail the period, throw in some great jokes, and mine some terrific performances out of the cast. This film isn't quite up to their best, but it does take me back to some of their older, quirkier stuff and is more lively than anything they've done in years. Expand
  22. JenK
    Nov 21, 2009
    10
    If you haven't done so already, do yourself a favor and go see A SERIOUS MAN by the Coen Brothers while it's still in the theaters. Best screenplay of the year by far. Best characters. Best casting. Best Cinematography. Best SUBTEXT. If you happen to be Jewish, you'll get an extra dose of enjoyment. I had no other choice but to scribble notes down in the dark on my hand and If you haven't done so already, do yourself a favor and go see A SERIOUS MAN by the Coen Brothers while it's still in the theaters. Best screenplay of the year by far. Best characters. Best casting. Best Cinematography. Best SUBTEXT. If you happen to be Jewish, you'll get an extra dose of enjoyment. I had no other choice but to scribble notes down in the dark on my hand and wrist from the influx of inspiration. I was even able to block out the annoying couple making out in front of me a row down in this filthy, dilapidated and almost abandoned movie theater that we were unfortunate enough to be in. Regardless, I'd do it again in a heart beat. It's worth it. Trust me. Thank you, Coen Brothers. You're fucking BRILLIANT. Expand
  23. Johnl
    Nov 29, 2009
    9
    Funniest movie of the year. As is often the case with Cohen brothers films it is a little scattered but what a fun trip!!
  24. BobK
    Nov 17, 2009
    8
    Definitely an upper!
  25. JimS
    Nov 24, 2009
    8
    Heavy stuff, beautifully crafted, and flawlessly presented. Unpredictable, darkly comedic, absurd and sublime; typical Coen brothers. I loved it.
  26. Aug 11, 2010
    10
    This is actually a good movie. I like the dark humor and especially the leads. Sure it goes by slow, but it is enjoyable. Something tells me that some people really need to see it again, since hearing all this negativity about it.
  27. Aug 16, 2010
    10
    Another funny and excellent film from the Coens, who show off their terrific sense of Americana and memorable characters in this little gem. "A Serious Man" is sadly underrated and underappreciated, and I can only hope that it blossoms into a cult classic like several of their other films, namely "Barton Fink" and "The Big Lebowski".
  28. May 15, 2012
    7
    It's hard to characterise this film; very black comedy covers it i guess. There are some amusing scenes, a nice touch of the absurd, but overall I found it just a bit too bleak
  29. Sep 17, 2010
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I'm completely amazed at the negative reviews here (granted, plenty of them are also great) but especially from Coen Bros. fans... Not all movies work for everybody, sure, and if you didn't like it, so it goes. But I think this is easily one of their best films. The ending is supposed to be exactly as it is and its reasoning summarizes the movie perfectly. A shame if it feels unfinished to you. i found it deeply satisfying. Expand
  30. Sep 19, 2010
    8
    While typical in style of the great Coen Brothers, it hits harder than normal in it's brutal bluntness. Simply put, don't take things too seriously and wrap yourself up in worry and unnecessary stress. Whatever is going to happen, is going to happen. While most if us know this, if you don't, the Coens will smack you hard with the message.
  31. Jun 16, 2011
    8
    I for one was entirely entertained, especially by the Korean actors. They had me laughing quite a few times and the whole jewish paradigm was, in my opinion, quite ridiculous as well. Damn good comedy!
  32. j30
    Sep 27, 2011
    9
    Just another great Coens brothers movie. Their movies aren't necessarily for everybody. They generally have this dark, bruising humor that will isolate their audience.
  33. Jan 26, 2013
    10
    If you are unable to think or use your brain, walk away. This is a deep, philosophical, cynical, witty movie that answers the question we all wonder. Why do bad things happen to good people? Does God exist? Do my actions have any consequence? This movie answers them all. You really have to pay attention to the themes and hidden messages. It is a BLACK COMEDY. Meaning there are no fartIf you are unable to think or use your brain, walk away. This is a deep, philosophical, cynical, witty movie that answers the question we all wonder. Why do bad things happen to good people? Does God exist? Do my actions have any consequence? This movie answers them all. You really have to pay attention to the themes and hidden messages. It is a BLACK COMEDY. Meaning there are no fart jokes or people yelling penis. Worth the watch, one of my favorite movies. Expand
  34. ArthurF
    Mar 29, 2010
    10
    A movie with humor and pathos, funny lines and ultimately no conclusion. That's life. There are no definitive answers. The film has a bleak side, which predominates - there are no answers - and a hilarious side, with some good laughs.
  35. NancyR
    Mar 6, 2010
    0
    I walked out....it was painful to watch. A waste of money.
  36. X.
    Jan 6, 2010
    4
    Since it's the Coen bros., it's not a total waste of time, but close. A series of unfortunate events reign down on the protagonist and it's all about as much fun to watch as it is for the main character to go through. (Very little.) There's no reason to like or care about anyone on screen. While supposedly a few elements are "funny," they're not funny in a way Since it's the Coen bros., it's not a total waste of time, but close. A series of unfortunate events reign down on the protagonist and it's all about as much fun to watch as it is for the main character to go through. (Very little.) There's no reason to like or care about anyone on screen. While supposedly a few elements are "funny," they're not funny in a way that you actually derive any joy out of them. I'm fine with uncomfortable comedies and bleak material, but I had no idea why I was watching any of this. The point of the movie seems to be that there is no sense to anything, which seems like a tired theme I've seen done better elsewhere. Only about three scenes piqued my interest, and wouldn't you know it? Those scenes turned out to be dream sequences. (Aren't the Coen bros. a little beyond resorting to "gotcha" dream sequences?) Most infuriating of all, though, is the ending. My jaw literally dropped when the movie ended - I could not believe I had sat through that entire movie, only to be pulled out of it when it seemed something interesting and relevant was going to happen. They could've hardly thought of a more random or frustrating ending (which might have worked and actually have been really cool if what came beforehand held more interest or weight). This was a Serious Disappointment. Collapse
  37. KenS
    Nov 15, 2009
    10
    For some reason, it bothers me that all the reviews say 1967 when the movie is set in 1970 or 71.
  38. Oct 7, 2010
    2
    One of the worst movies I have seen in the last 5 years. The idea behind it is not bad, but the subtle humor doesn't work. Without the humor, this movie is annoying and boring and at certain points you just cannot believe the story anymore. Nobody (even in those days) is such a pushover as the prime subject. I love the work of the Coen brothers, but this was a waste of my time.
  39. NormG
    Oct 9, 2009
    5
    Not as funny as I thought it was going be. The humor was there but on slow boil. No big laugh out loud moments as there were in the much dismissed (by others) Burn After Reading. I have a distain for using a nightmare sequence to interject some illogical humor. There at least three such scenes here. A mostly unknown cast (except for maybe Richard Kind and Adam Arkin) and the mostly Not as funny as I thought it was going be. The humor was there but on slow boil. No big laugh out loud moments as there were in the much dismissed (by others) Burn After Reading. I have a distain for using a nightmare sequence to interject some illogical humor. There at least three such scenes here. A mostly unknown cast (except for maybe Richard Kind and Adam Arkin) and the mostly unknown stage actor, Michael Stuhlbarg, has to carry the film. He wore on me. As his character Expand
  40. JonW.
    Jan 10, 2010
    1
    I used to love the Coen Brothers movies. I'm rendered speechless at how tedious and unfunny their latest work is. Maybe you have to be Jewish? How anyone can view this as one of the best of the year is beyond me. What a sad state. At least the British are still making great films.
  41. MikeN
    Jan 7, 2010
    1
    Saw the movie with the wife on a special date night. It was a complete mistake. A quick summery might be, selfish people consistently doing selfish horrible things to each other. The Coen brothers view on humanity portrayed in this movie is worse than a concept of
  42. FelixL.
    Feb 12, 2010
    0
    An inside joke that never comes to life. A truly awful film, with nothing to recommend it. Self-indulgent and appalling. The work of narcissists.
  43. DV
    Feb 16, 2010
    4
    Had its moments, but there was no conclusion (did the Coens run out of money at the end?).
  44. ChaseW
    Mar 20, 2010
    3
    Decent acting, but overall story lacking in big ways...namely an ending.
  45. GavanB
    Mar 5, 2010
    3
    Like all Cohen Brothers films it has moments of brilliance. But the "end the movie before the story is developed" thing is starting to feel gimmicky, and make the Cohen Brothers seem like one trick ponies.
  46. HampusB
    Mar 5, 2010
    3
    What the hell are the Coens doing? They're almost inpeccable in terms of craft nowadays, but this dreary, pretentious movie is just bleak and cruel. The Coens are just bullying the characters, the complete lack of sympathy rubs of after a while, and you end up not caring in the least. Sure it's funny from time to time but in the end the humour is just cruel.
  47. judyp
    Mar 9, 2010
    4
    OY SUCH A MOVIE! The Coens gave us something to think about, however what I was thinking about was my last root canal how much more I enjoyed that experience than , A Serious Man.
  48. NickiR
    Oct 10, 2009
    4
    Gone is the magic of the Coens. Save your money and enjoy Millers C, Lebowski, Barton F and/or Blood S instead.
  49. AlanK
    Nov 5, 2009
    5
    Just thought I'd cast another well-deserved mediocre rating for this movie. As another viewer mentioned, maybe because I'm a goy, but most of this movie had little to no emotional impact on me. As such, I can't argue positively or negatively on it's behalf. It's one of those films that self-consciously weird in an understated, annoying way. At their prime the Just thought I'd cast another well-deserved mediocre rating for this movie. As another viewer mentioned, maybe because I'm a goy, but most of this movie had little to no emotional impact on me. As such, I can't argue positively or negatively on it's behalf. It's one of those films that self-consciously weird in an understated, annoying way. At their prime the Cohens were joyfully and emphatically peculiar in remarkably clever and entertaining ways (most notably Fargo, but also Raising Arizona, Barton Fink, and most of their earlier work). With this film they're just too smug and subtle for their own good... or ours. Expand
  50. ThomasL.
    Jan 11, 2010
    5
    I didn't get it. It wasn't funny. Well shot, great art direction, and though I didn't mind the ending as much as some (if a doctor calls you and asks you to come in, it's very bad news). I just didn't get what was funny in this. It should have been played as a drama, there are good moments but overall a failure. And I was really looking forward to it.
  51. BradR.
    Jan 2, 2010
    0
    Absolutely dreadful. painful to sit through.
  52. Catherine
    Jan 24, 2010
    5
    Although the film has a few laugh out loud moments, taken in total the thing is so joyless and bleak it's hard to recommend. I also think it's a serious public relations nightmare for Jews, who come off as weak, cowardly, whiny, self-involved, territorial, and yet deeply elitist ("What happened to the goy?" "Who cares?").
  53. JannaP.
    Feb 14, 2010
    0
    This was the worst movie ever. Painful to sit through. It was so incredibly boring. Every minute was torture. The characters are boring, unattractive, smug, and pathetic. There is absolutely nothing worthwhile about this movie.
  54. MaxM
    Feb 14, 2010
    1
    Another Coen brothers inside joke movie...Please get back to what made you guys great. Lebowski, Fargo, and No Country were pure magic. Beyond that, it's been nothing but crap.
  55. ChrisD
    Nov 1, 2009
    5
    What is the point really? Not sure I could quite figure that out. But that's me.
  56. Angus
    Nov 15, 2009
    3
    This is now in the running as my least favourite Coen brothers film. Seriously lacking in entertainment. It was occasionally intriguing (but in a way that has been done before by the Coen's). This film was such a let down. And I felt somewhat annoyed that large portions of the film seemed as if only the Jewish population were meant to enjoy. I felt like a "third wheel" watching it.
  57. ReidF
    Oct 10, 2009
    0
    Snide, obnoxious, vapid people doing awful things to each other, this movie is total garbage.
  58. StuO.
    Oct 14, 2009
    10
    What a terrific movie! Don't miss it.
  59. MichaelH
    Nov 5, 2009
    1
    I found the film loathsome with no redeeming characters. As sensitive as the leading man was, he was reactive in every situation, not allowing the audience to relate to him or be intrigued. The only reason I gave it a 1 is a tribute to the fine actors.
  60. LindaD.
    Feb 12, 2010
    0
    Hated this movie. I'm really sorry I wasted my time watching it.
  61. andya
    Nov 18, 2009
    1
    Once again the critics blew it! the only value for me in seeing this movie is to further my understanding as to: 1. Why some people are antisemitic, 2. To realize how far afoot the majority of Jewish people are from the portrayals depicted in the movie. 3. To be grateful that my Temple and Rabbi , and for that manner most Rabbis with whom I have dealt are functioning on a different place Once again the critics blew it! the only value for me in seeing this movie is to further my understanding as to: 1. Why some people are antisemitic, 2. To realize how far afoot the majority of Jewish people are from the portrayals depicted in the movie. 3. To be grateful that my Temple and Rabbi , and for that manner most Rabbis with whom I have dealt are functioning on a different place than was was depicted in :Serious Man" and 4. To reaffirm my belief that Judaism now and historically has had some of the brightest, most creative, and philanthropic individuals in the world. Mankind has advanced because of the Jewish people. Expand
  62. DaveyL
    Nov 9, 2009
    3
    I didn't like the Coen Brothers last two movies and I hated this one. I stayed until the end because friends of mine had recommended the film but that was a mistake. I felt sorry for the actors who did their best in this miserable movie. Maybe I need to stop seeing their films. Life is too short.
  63. RoryB
    Dec 15, 2009
    3
    I don't mind a bit of mystery at the end of a movie. Draw your own conclusions and all. But this stopped short of that. Way short of it! Larry gets a call from his doctor to come in and discuss an X-ray (no outcome) and there is a tornado bearing down on his son (no outcome). The whole time while everyone is abusing the utterly pathetic and unassertive Larry, you are rooting for him I don't mind a bit of mystery at the end of a movie. Draw your own conclusions and all. But this stopped short of that. Way short of it! Larry gets a call from his doctor to come in and discuss an X-ray (no outcome) and there is a tornado bearing down on his son (no outcome). The whole time while everyone is abusing the utterly pathetic and unassertive Larry, you are rooting for him to grow a pair... but nothing... he remains pathetic throughout the movie. And what was the point of the opening scene set in the distant past... pointless! PS: I'm a big Coen brothers fan... was really looking forward to it. Expand
  64. JamesL
    Oct 27, 2009
    5
    I think the Coen brothers have gotten lazy. They were on to something with this film but decided to take the easy way out and leave the topic barely scratched. If they had dug a little deeper, taken a few more risks and been willing to possibly offend some religious people, then this film could have soared. Insted it barely caused a ripple on the big pond of life and cinema.
  65. SteveW
    Dec 13, 2009
    0
    I'm, Jewish, and I HATED this movie. The critics blew it. Again. Another unfunny "black" comedy. I couldn't wait for it to end. Worst movie I've seen in many, many years. Save your money, and whatever you do, do NOT buy the DVD. You will thank me later.
  66. Feb 17, 2011
    2
    This is one of those films that the critics seem to love, but most users will not. Drama films where nothing happens should never get anything above a 50 but I see Ebert gave it a 100. How is this possible? The last 30 minutes weren't terrible, but that is only in comparison to the first 70 minutes which are excruciating. I'm sure the critics will say those that don't like this filmThis is one of those films that the critics seem to love, but most users will not. Drama films where nothing happens should never get anything above a 50 but I see Ebert gave it a 100. How is this possible? The last 30 minutes weren't terrible, but that is only in comparison to the first 70 minutes which are excruciating. I'm sure the critics will say those that don't like this film "don't get it". I have a phrase for them, "Get real". Expand
  67. Oct 31, 2010
    3
    The only time I was laughing when thinking about this movie, was thinking of how my wallet looked emptier than it deserved to be. I found the movie boring and hardly humorous at all, it was dull and just ended? Some people say that's life... that's why it ended that way, well that not why I or anyone should go watch movie, it was unilluminating, can't believe the misleading score
  68. Jan 1, 2011
    1
    This movie sucks! Plain and simple. If I paid to see this at the movies I would have been angry. As it it, I'm angry for paying attention to Ebert. I lost 90 minutes of good living time. This jackass, Ebert, has no credibility at all. He rates every Disney movie pretty high. He was their lackey for quite some time so it should be no surprise. I guess he smooches the Coens' butts too..
  69. Mar 7, 2011
    3
    I was greatly disappointed by this film and cannot see how it was a nominee for the Best Picture Oscar. I found it neither thought provoking nor especially funny. Perhaps I would have gained more from the viewing if I was raised in the Jewish-American tradition, where I might have related more to some of the "commonly shared cultural experience" points of view. >>>> My full cinemaI was greatly disappointed by this film and cannot see how it was a nominee for the Best Picture Oscar. I found it neither thought provoking nor especially funny. Perhaps I would have gained more from the viewing if I was raised in the Jewish-American tradition, where I might have related more to some of the "commonly shared cultural experience" points of view. >>>> My full cinema profile here: http://bit.ly/MyMovies Expand
  70. May 28, 2011
    3
    Pure crap. (with a little interest) it was hard to understand what they were saying. very hard to even try to comprehend the story (especially the beginning). Shouldn't have been nominated for best pictue. and to the Cohen Brothers......COME ON.
    thankyou for your time.
  71. Mar 25, 2012
    3
    Is this a comedy or a drama because i don't know and for that matter i don't care either because it wouldn't have helped the movie if i knew. This movie disgust me with its boring and stupid main character. Sorry Cohen brothers but this one sucked.
  72. Sep 1, 2012
    3
    This movie is seriously strange. It is wacky and filled with moments that feel as if they have no relation to the last. The story wasn't even interesting. Just not worth watching ever again.
  73. Mar 23, 2013
    4
    Larry Gopnik is having a good old fashioned mid-life crisis. He is a physics professor, and it is safe to say his job is not all he wants it to be. His students seem disinterested and the one that is engaged is trying to bribe him for grades. His teenage children are self involved, imagine that, so he is getting little fulfillment on that front. His wife wants a get, a divorce to usLarry Gopnik is having a good old fashioned mid-life crisis. He is a physics professor, and it is safe to say his job is not all he wants it to be. His students seem disinterested and the one that is engaged is trying to bribe him for grades. His teenage children are self involved, imagine that, so he is getting little fulfillment on that front. His wife wants a get, a divorce to us non-jews, and to top that off he had no idea anything was wrong plus she wants to marry his friend. All this seems like drama ripe for entertainment in the hands of the Coens. In my opinion there is little entertainment to be had.

    Where I think A Serious Man goes wrong is in it's character development. Besides our protagonist every other character in this film is severely under developed. In fact next to Larry I would say the next most developed character is Clive Park. He is the before mentioned student that tries to bribe Larry for a grade. The two scenes that Larry and Clive have together are the best in the film. This is unfortunate because they are very short, and Clive's situation amounts to little more than a plot device to be used later on in the story arc. Larry's whole family is ripe for drama and terribly underused, but the most egregious example of this his brother Arthur, played by Richard Kind. I was excited to see Kind in this film, however like most of the characters he is in little of the film and we don't get to know him. He has one crucial moment towards the end of the film, but of course nothing much comes of it and we are left wondering what he had to do with anything at all.

    What A Serious Man does right, is let us get to know the character of Larry. He is a very quiet unassuming man, yet those around him treat him as if he is the source of all their discomfort and misery. Larry never loses his cool in any of his personal interactions but simply always looks bewildered at whatever situation he is being confronted with. We are waiting for him to explode with emotion, but he never does. There are a couple of times when yet another character has told him to calm down that I wanted to explode for him. Larry is a really good character, unfortunately there is just not enough going on with the characters around him to truly engage us the way we need to be.

    I love the Coens, I love almost every film they have done. One of the things that I like best about their films is the characters they create. Even their most seldom used characters always feel like part of the world they are creating. They have nuance, they give us reason to laugh with them, cheer them on, or root against them. That is why this effort is so disappointing to me. A Serious Man is practically unrecognizable as a Coen brother film.
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  74. MarkH
    Oct 17, 2009
    10
    Ranks with the best of the Coen films. A philosophical farce that is even funnier when you flashback the next day. And even though much of the humor is Jewish based it is also universal.
  75. JRG
    Oct 25, 2009
    3
    This movie was a serious disappointment. It's tome was too cold and distant for me to relate to. I think the Jewish community, of which there were many in the theater, enjoyed it more than I did.
  76. DianaK.
    Oct 2, 2009
    5
    Life is hell and then you die. Job in a Jewish Minneapolis suburb. The ([professional) audience with whom I saw this well-made but willfully nihilistic movie sat in stunned silence when it "ended." Then they slunk out of the theater and went in search of strong spirits.
  77. CP
    Oct 28, 2009
    10
    I liked this better than all of the other Coen brothers' films. Dark, brilliant. (And I'm a goy).
  78. DanK
    Oct 31, 2009
    2
    What is amazing is that this movie can get a 100 from several major critics, and a 25 few several others. Apparently you will either love or hate this movie, not much middle ground. Me, like others posted, hated it - it was a dreary, growning waste of 2 hours. I say revoke the Coen's movie making privledges.
  79. DWilly
    Oct 11, 2009
    4
    Not bad enough to ruin the Coen Brothers reputation with me, but another sad step further in the egocentric, over-broad, nothing-means-anything direction of "Burn After Reading." It would be slow anyway, without any real plot, but on top of that the characters were inconsistent in their behavior; so it was I became disengaged, and started wondering if such a blanket portrayal of jews as Not bad enough to ruin the Coen Brothers reputation with me, but another sad step further in the egocentric, over-broad, nothing-means-anything direction of "Burn After Reading." It would be slow anyway, without any real plot, but on top of that the characters were inconsistent in their behavior; so it was I became disengaged, and started wondering if such a blanket portrayal of jews as ineffectual and confused in their values was amusing to the Coens, or if it in some way feels good for some Jews to show themselves this way in order to appear harmless to a larger population that might be otherwise inclined to persecute them. In any case, there's no mistaking this movie is deeply anti-semetic... also, just sloppy and not that good. Expand
  80. alan
    Oct 12, 2009
    9
    If its not true its not funny. This is funny.
  81. JoshE.
    Oct 12, 2009
    9
    Excellent, timely, and brutally dark. I am surprised to say this is one of my favorite Coen films. We're all Larry Gropnik... teetering on the edge... ready to unravel at any moment... just trying to understand "what's going on." A very good film.
  82. SS
    Oct 12, 2009
    8
    Very entertaining for people familiar with jewish culture. Non-jews will not get much of the humor. Probably not for middle america
  83. JonesB
    Oct 15, 2009
    5
    Root canal surgery was less painful to endure. It would probably be viewed as anti-Semitic to judge the main adult characters as confused sheep who would be easily led to the abattoir, but I found myself daydreaming of the joyous potential of a car crash taking out our protaganist, Larry, or better still... his wailing shrew of a wife. A serious man, he asks? How about a serious schmuck.
  84. brian
    Oct 2, 2009
    8
    This movie was really funny. it includes a lot of aspects of philosophy (existentialism and nihilism at least, possibly fatalism) and it's pretty well done. the whole movie is about the level of unpredictability there is in the universe and our lives. it's important to remember that throughout the whole movie this man is purely trying to find answers. a lot of people were This movie was really funny. it includes a lot of aspects of philosophy (existentialism and nihilism at least, possibly fatalism) and it's pretty well done. the whole movie is about the level of unpredictability there is in the universe and our lives. it's important to remember that throughout the whole movie this man is purely trying to find answers. a lot of people were disappointed by the ending but you have to put it in scope with the rest of the movie to truly see why it was the perfect ending. Expand
  85. SteveH
    Oct 25, 2009
    3
    I'm a Cohen brothers fan but this is not one of their good movies. The movie had a few interesting/funny parts all in all, it was a dud. This movie is proof, you can't believe the critics all the time.
  86. RichardE.
    Oct 25, 2009
    8
    All in all, I prefer the book to the movie .... At least in The Book of Job, you get an outright accusation that God might be a putz ("It is all one; therefore I say, / he destroys both the blameless and the wicked" [9.22]), and in The Book of Job God responds to the accusation, sort of: The tornado gets a long speech ("Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind ..." [chs. 38-41]). All in all, I prefer the book to the movie .... At least in The Book of Job, you get an outright accusation that God might be a putz ("It is all one; therefore I say, / he destroys both the blameless and the wicked" [9.22]), and in The Book of Job God responds to the accusation, sort of: The tornado gets a long speech ("Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind ..." [chs. 38-41]). Still, good flick, if very, very painful brand of comedy. (But, then, Job is itself, as it now stands in Scripture, is a kind of painful comedy.) Expand
  87. johng
    Oct 26, 2009
    3
    At least with a root canal you get what you pay for. I wanted my money back after ten minutes.
  88. MikeD
    Oct 27, 2009
    4
    A serious comedy or a comedic drama? Either way it failed miserably. The characters were caricatures without any substance. A very disappointing movie.
  89. John
    Oct 28, 2009
    10
    Not just hilarious, but quite haunting. This film will stick with you long after the credits roll. Maybe the Coens' best work. Certainly their most emotionally potent.
  90. WodekS
    Oct 31, 2009
    10
    The Coen brothers have captured in this film the spirit of Philip Roth's American Pastoral. After everything they have done, perhaps one should no longer speak of Coen films as astonishing. Nevertheless, an astonishing film, thick with a foreboding about tumultuous future that awaits us.
  91. susanw
    Oct 3, 2009
    9
    Dark, dark comedy, absolutely hilarious without a shred of sentimentality. Brilliant, though I was perturbed that almost every female character is monstrous, whereas only some of the men were.
  92. corinap
    Oct 30, 2009
    10
    This movie was a delight. Like in real life, the events are a puzzle that cannot be solved, the big questions don't get answers, and people don't care to understand each other. But seeing all this chaos spiced with so much humor from the distance of your movie seat is almost cathartic, and indeed brings the idea of acceptance. I loved the beginning story too and would have loved This movie was a delight. Like in real life, the events are a puzzle that cannot be solved, the big questions don't get answers, and people don't care to understand each other. But seeing all this chaos spiced with so much humor from the distance of your movie seat is almost cathartic, and indeed brings the idea of acceptance. I loved the beginning story too and would have loved a whole movie in the I.B. Singer like fashion. Expand
  93. BonnieB.
    Oct 21, 2009
    2
    Tedious, boring, depressing. Funny? barely. Don't waste your time on this. When the tornado comes, you'll wish it had swept away the Cohn Bros. These are the guys who made "Oh, Brother"? Oy gevalt.
  94. DianaB
    Oct 28, 2009
    8
    Recalled Woody Allen's CRIMES & MISDEMEANORS in its theme. It kept me watching and made me think afterward.
  95. KarenF
    Oct 28, 2009
    9
    4 days later and I'm still pondering it. This is a personal film that gets under one's skin, and probably has a narrow window of acceptability. I must see it again.
  96. MichaelS
    Oct 31, 2009
    0
    Don't waist your money and time. Awful movie. Denigrates everything it presents. Denigrates life, religion, jewish people, korean people, honesty, religion. The only message it sends is that life makes no sense. So why the Coens stay in this world? Depressing, irritating and not funny
  97. Sep 1, 2014
    7
    As dark as A Serious Man can be, it's just as good. The Coen Brothers give us another one to really think on and admire. Newcomer Michael Stuhlbarg is a prime example of perfect casting.
  98. Nov 28, 2012
    8
    It's not exactly uplifting, but the Coen Bros. "A Serious Man" does prove to be a lovely testament to the existence of near perfect storytelling and character writing.
  99. Jan 10, 2014
    10
    The Cohen Brothers have created a movie which will sit right along side Fiddler On the Roof, The humor is subtle, but hilarious when you get it. At the same time, it questions the nature of life, Hashem, and karma.

    A WARNING TO THE GOYIM (YIDDISH FOR NOT JEWISH): You will not get nearly as much enjoyment out of this film. Most of the jokes are sort of "in" jokes that hard to get if you
    The Cohen Brothers have created a movie which will sit right along side Fiddler On the Roof, The humor is subtle, but hilarious when you get it. At the same time, it questions the nature of life, Hashem, and karma.

    A WARNING TO THE GOYIM (YIDDISH FOR NOT JEWISH): You will not get nearly as much enjoyment out of this film. Most of the jokes are sort of "in" jokes that hard to get if you don't have a background for them. Sure, there will be some laugh-out-loud moments for you, but you'll have to sit through a lot which will not make sense to you. If you aren't Jewish, I wouldn't watch this movie unless you know the American Jewish culture.
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  100. Nov 29, 2013
    8
    A sophisticated and detailed, albeit bizarre, film, of which most people would find puzzling and tepid. However, I, being Jewish, have a knowledge of the culture to understand the certain depths and symbolism the film attempts to convey. The acting is sublime, significantly the lead Michael Stuhlbarg. Has an extreme ingenuity, yet a very unusual idea and message.
Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 35
  2. Negative: 3 out of 35
  1. Working with affectionate mockery, the Coens take the cinder-block-synagogue banality of American Jewish life in 1967 and make it look as archly exotic as the loopy Scandinavian-American winterscape of "Fargo."
  2. 88
    The presence of so many low-key performers gives A Serious Man a very different, distinctly non-Hollywood vibe. The absence of familiar faces allows the Coens to fully immerse their audience in the time (1967) and place (the U.S. Midwest) of the story.
  3. 80
    I found this beautifully crafted movie to be frequently hilarious, consistently surprising and rigged with spring-loaded narrative bombs, from its opening scene to its devastating final shot.