Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"A Serious Man"

Last night I saw the new Coen brothers movie, "A Serious Man." I'm a fan of their work, especially "Fargo," "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" and "No Country For Old Men."

This was a dark and difficult movie to watch. Loosely based on the story of Job, the main character, a professor named Larry Gopnik, suffers a series of disasters worthy of Job. Set in Minneapolis in 1967 it purports to be a farce about a middle-class Jewish family. However, I left the movie thinking, "I don't get it."

Yes, there are funny moments (a few) and painful moments (many), but there is not much depth and angst in Larry's suffering. Like Job, Larry consults "friends" in the form of two rabbis to shed some light on the question, "Why me?" but their answers are platitudinous and woefully inadequate.

Unlike Job, Larry refuses to lash out at those causing his suffering. The message of the movie (if it has one) might be: bad things happen to good people and good people don't fight back.

While I found the movie painful to watch, the issues it raises about the nature of innocent suffering are real and relevant. If you're looking for answers to the question "Why me?" you won't find it here. But if you're looking for the question to be raised in a painfully insufferable way, this is a movie for you.

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