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Parents' Guide to

A Serious Man

By James Rocchi, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Brilliant but bleak comedy for mature Coen brothers fans.

Movie R 2009 105 minutes
A Serious Man Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 9 parent reviews

age 17+

Have a teen super into abstraction and life's existential questions...well do I have a film for you!

Watched the whole film before realizing it was a Coen brothers film. That solved the "how did this get made?" question. I am not Jewish, but the specificity in which this film features mid-Western Jewish US American life feels spot on. The particulars, the details, the carefully constructed scenes of a presumed life falling apart all reverberate to a cookie cutter existence that has been existentialist fodder for many a pained suburbanite. the acting is all tone perfect, precise, and engaging. The film takes the line, "What's going on?!" and squeezes all of the philosophical juice out of it.
age 17+

It’s for you if you like nonsense

Entertaining, but unsatisfying as far as movies go. It was about a series of unfortunate events and that’s it. There was no ending to this movie, no moral of the story, no kind of closure. Waste of time really.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (9 ):
Kids say (8 ):

A Serious Man seems designed to baffle, but it actually lingers long after its small, sly jokes and plot complications finish. It's a particularly thin slice-of-life look that peers at a '60s Midwestern Jewish family as if through a microscope. Ethan and Joel Coen have always been interested in morality as a theme, and A Serious Man is no exception, with Larry (played by stage actor Stuhlbarg in an excellent performance) dealing with the large and small indignities of life while looking to religion for answers, even though he fails to find them.

Don't go to A Serious Man expecting the big laughs and quotable lines of, say, The Big Lebowski; this movie is, while funny, a much more serious work. The cinematography by longtime Coen collaborator Roger Deakins is superb, and the entire cast does excellent work. A Serious Man may look like a finely observed, small-scale work, but the questions it asks will linger with you long after its haunting final image.

Movie Details

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