Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Serious Man

Adam, a friend, and I waited on a line that circled the block of Lake & Hennepin to see the premiere of the new Coen brothers' movie A Serious Man. Set in St. Louis Park where the Coen bros. grew up, they shot the film locally and cast many no-name Mpls people for support roles. What was especially cool for us is the Coen brothers made an arrangement for the Uptown Theater to have exclusive privileges for the movie's first weekend release. As a part of the fanfare, they invited many people who had participated in the making of the film to be in the audience. Seated in front of me was the makeup woman. Other "Jewish-looking" extras were also in attendance. It was interesting to think I was seeing this movie with others who were seeing themselves IN the movie.

A Serious Man is being reviewed as the kind of personal film that you can only make once you already have all the awards and acclaim in your back pocket. The film touches on issues of faith and doubt à la the human condition. Specifically Jewish faith. And the film doesn't educate you. If you're not a Jew and you don't get the joke--that's it. You don't get the joke.

While I enjoyed the movie and the characteristic dark humor of the Coen bros. repertoire, I would only selectively recommend it. The film is not incredibly plot driven: just one ordinary man's crisis with faith as his life falls apart around him.

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