Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Serious Man

I am going to go out on a limb here and say that you will probably find the humor in this movie if you are Jewish. And not the kind of Jewish that never goes to synagogue- or even the kind of Jewish that you became to please your husband's family. I'm talking Saturday school, Bat/bar mitzvah, glass stomping Jewish. Because there are obviously inside jokes here that merely going to synagogue with your junior high friends on Friday night will not explain. It baffled me in spots- about 20 people roared with delight while I, on the other hand, felt like I was watching a movie about Jewish stereotypes. They were all in here- the wise but obtuse rabbi, the shrewish wife, the nebbishy husband and his sycophantic brother, the smart but bored Jewish kids, the sister who saves up for a nose job- and that is just part of it. In a Coen movie, you always wait for the other shoe to drop. So this one leaves you on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen next and when will someone be killed. The plot summary can easily be found on any website, but suffice it to say, it is Job without a happy ending. I feel it was worth seeing, but it may be too much of an inside joke for any non-Jewish theater goers. But if you are Jewish, you'll probably be one of the people who really can get the humor and who will say it is the best Jewish movie of all time. As an aside- the movie was made in the Minneapolis neighborhood that the Coen's grew up in around the same time as they did. Notice the set decoration. If you were alive in 1967, it will look very familiar.