A Serious Man (2009)


Written by Joel and Ethan; directed by Ethan and Joel; produced by Joel and Ethan

A schoolteacher’s wife wants a divorce, his dream job’s under threat, his brother’s sleeping on the sofa, his neighbour’s crossing into his garden, his son’s dealing with a bully, his daughter wants access to the bathroom, and a student’s trying to bribe him… How will he cope?

Seen before? No.

Best performance: Ooh, look: it’s The Big Bang Theory’s Howard as a young rabbi.

Coen regulars (running total of appearances): None.

Best bit: The shaggy-dog story about the dentist.

Review: A strange one. The way Larry’s life gradually crumbles apart around him is fun to watch and is well paced, and there are lots of good actors in fun roles, but it’s hardly the most gripping 100 minutes of cinema I’ve ever seen. The movie begins with a seven-minute prologue – all in Yiddish and set at some indeterminable Ye Olde time – which, as far as I can tell, has nothing whatsoever to do with anything else in the film. And, like in Burn After Reading, the story just stops rather than having an ending.

Six TV aerials out of 10.

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