User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 240 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 54 out of 240

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  1. Jan 10, 2014
    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. Expand
  2. Nov 29, 2013
    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.
  3. Mar 23, 2013
    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 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.
  4. Jan 26, 2013
    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 fart jokes or people yelling penis. Worth the watch, one of my favorite movies. Expand
  5. Nov 28, 2012
    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.
  6. Sep 1, 2012
    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.
  7. May 15, 2012
    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
  8. Mar 25, 2012
    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.
  9. j30
    Sep 27, 2011
    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.
  10. Sep 22, 2011
    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.
  11. Jun 16, 2011
    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!
  12. May 28, 2011
    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.
  13. Mar 7, 2011
    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 cinema profile here: Expand
  14. Feb 17, 2011
    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 film "don't get it". I have a phrase for them, "Get real". Expand
  15. Jan 1, 2011
    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..
  16. Oct 31, 2010
    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
  17. Oct 7, 2010
    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.
  18. Sep 19, 2010
    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.
  19. Sep 17, 2010
    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
  20. Aug 16, 2010
    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".
  21. Aug 11, 2010
    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.

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.