Saturday, March 06, 2010

A Serious Man

Oy vey!


Stanton said...

Wow! Great review, TFG!

I was on the fence about adding this to the Netflix queue, but the eloquence of your review makes me want to run right out and buy it for the permanent collection! Hoo-Haw!

The Film Geek said...

After you do, you'll see exactly why my comment is what it is. This movie is a re-telling of the story of Job, and it's pure misery. Entertaining misery, but misery nonetheless.

Stanton said...

OK, I know that this blog is offically shut down, but I have to post my comments after watching this movie:

As you predicted, Marc, I liked it. It was the Coens at their best in film making quality - photography, dialogue, casting. Admittedly I am challenged by my goy-ness in understanding the subtleties of the pointed Jewish references, but for the most part I think I got them. I loved the constant tension between the religious and secular forces it portrayed - something that Christians understand at least as well as Jews.

On the subject of this movie being a re-telling of Job, I think this promotion is a device used by the Coens to set the stage, but no strong parrallel truly exists. The suffering that the main character goes through is really tame compared to what happened to Job, and while the arc of the story has some of the same elements (like three friends[although this time 3 rabbis] who try to help the main character to understand his suffering)the real parrallels are hard to come by. Just like "O Brother" where the Coens used to comparison with "The Odyssey" to set the tone for the story - and the way they used "Based on a true story" as a way to set the tone for Fargo, so do they use Job to let the viewer know that this is going to be a dark story with religious overtones.

The ending was fitting, I thought. While it certainly was one last tribute to Job, the point seemed completely different. Job found comfort and at least some answer in the whirlwind, but for Larry Gopnik it just seemd to be the harbinger of more tragedy.

Wonderfully crafted piece of film and wonderfully entertaining. Perhpas my outlook on life is so pessimistic, as compared to yours, Marc, that I was not brought down by the suffering as much as you obviously were. I found myself laughing out loud more than once at poor Larry's conundrums. Perhaps I am just evil that way.

The Film Geek said...

That's a great commentary, Stanton. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'd agree with "wonderfully crafted," but not so much on the "wonderfully entertaining" aspect. But it was very well crafted.

You know, Stanton, the passion of your comment reminded me why I started The Film Geek in the first place. And I lost that passion over a time. Perhaps it can be re-discovered sometime soon.

crystal dawn said...

Stanton wrote:

"The suffering that the main character goes through is really tame compared to.."

(possible spoiler?!?)

For me, the primary point of the movie was just that. It suggested how much worse the character's life could and possibly was going to be - hence the appropriate ending. Put things in perspective I guess. Many times we look at our lives as one huge struggle, and sometimes don't realize how bad it actually could be.