I seriously didn’t get half of this film, man. That’s not to say I didn’t like it: it’s typically Coen dead-pan, as only they can do; Michael Stuhlbarg is great as the beleaguered Larry Gopnik; there are the common Coen repetitive gags, “Sy Ableman?”; wonderful cinematography by the luminous Roger Deakins and a lovely score by Carter Burwell. I just felt that a lot of went over my head.
For example, the movie opens with a (fabricated) Yiddish folk tale. I just thought it was Russian. I’m sure there are many other examples if a) I could remember them, and b) I actually recognised them as cultural references. If movies and TV are to be believed, then it seems that everyone in the US knows all about Jewish culture, this is really not the case in the UK, so I’m afraid a lot of the references were lost on me.
I realise that the film is very much in the off-the-wall style of the Coens, a style I’ve loved from Blood Simple to True Grit via The Man Who Wasn’t There and Burn After Reading. Like I said at the start, I did like the film, there is much to like and a lot of it is perfectly pitched; I just feel that the cultural boundary of A Serious Man got in the way a bit for me to really embrace it. But, you know, that’s just, like, my opinion man.