Seeing Ethan and Joel Coen’s latest movie, A Serious Man, is like descending into a deep, dark, swamp. Larry Gopnik’s wife is in love with another man. She wants a Jewish divorce so she can marry a totally ridiculous man who insists on hugging Larry every time they meet. The three Rabbis Larry seeks out are pitiful caricatures.
Someone is sending nasty letters to the committee that is considering Larry for tenure at the Midwestern university where he teaches. Larry’s two kids, Danny and Sarah, are a mess. His brother Arthur, who sleeps on the couch, is a gambler and a pedophiliac. The Columbia Record Club is pursuing Larry for records he never ordered. A student offers him a bribe for a better grade, and the student’s father threatens to sue.
What else could go wrong?
The movie is constant trouble. There is no relief.
In the past I have loved the Coen Brothers and their quirky films. Fargo, Brother Where Art Thou, Burn After Reading, No Country for Old Men, are all wonderful movies. I did not love this one.