A Serious man

..but what does it all mean?

Posted on:  June 28, 2010


The book is finished (for now) so I finally have a chance to catch up on some films I missed, starting with A Serious Man written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. I often rave about their work here on this blog because whether you agree with their point of view or not, their films are studies in character, setting and story telling.

As I’ve said before, their films are pseudo-cartoons inhabited by people that are not only real but hyper real, all seamlessly blended in a melting pot of genres.

On the surface, A Serious Man is about a slice of American Judiaca. Set in 1967, it’s about a series of life altering events that befall an urbane college professor which all culminate around his son’s Bar-Mitzvah. But save all the jewish tradition and culture and one still gets to the big question of the film: What is life really about? It’s as philosophical and basic as you can get.

As with any Coen Brothers film, the characters a superbly constructed and developed. Their characterizations are entertaining and amusing and most of all, the storytelling is unbridled and profound. Visually, Roger Deakins shows us once again why he is one of the modern masters of composition and lighting.

The meaning of life is what we individually derive from it. We either answer our own questions or we dont. We make choices based on the limits of our conscience and from what we know is true. The rest is pretty much out of our control.