The punch line is a little different, but you know the joke. He is not a bad husband; he provides for his family; he’s faithful—one could do worse. Throughout the film, we'll see that even though Larry and Danny don't have a close relationship, their fates are intertwined and that Larry's life expands beyond what he can see. Hashem doesn’t owe us anything. To be Jewish is itself a paradox—an outsider always living among other communities waiting for the inevitable next exodus, an exodus that's also key to your identity. At best, Larry must, in the immortal words of Mr. Park (Steve Park), "Accept the mystery.". Judaism is about being part of a community. The movie opens with a Yiddish-language set-piece. But after watching the film a second time—it’s just been released on DVD—it seems worthwhile to revisit some of the questions it raises. The problem with the notion of the community is that the world remains uncertain (as seen in the parable that starts the movie) and then American individualism compounds that uncertainty. Did Larry deserve all the other bad things that "happened" to him? He's a passive character who doesn't really stand up for himself and doesn't seem to have any beliefs beyond the childish notion that the world should be fair. Slate relies on advertising to support our journalism. Slate is published by The Slate Group, a Graham Holdings Company. The academy usually quarantines those qualities in the screenwriting category. While Velvel frets over what will happen next, Dora is firm in her certainty. I believe it acts as a parable reflecting the film, Gopnik's life, and indeed the Book of Job. "), the brothers do have beliefs about morality in a chaotic universe, and that paradox—order in chaos—is rendered beautifully in the climax of A Serious Man. He can no more control the decay of his body than control nature; the universe is too complex to hinge on petty decisions. We've been trying to work our way through most of the nominees, and last night was A Serious Man. Maybe Gopnik would fare better if he had half of that gumption. By Ned Resnikoff. As soon as Gopnik finally does something—he accepts the student’s bribe—his doctor calls with what is clearly bad news (though we’re not privy to its precise nature). At the very same moment, a tornado moves in the direction of Danny’s Hebrew school. If anything, Larry views God as a manager and if he takes his complaint to the right rabbi, then everything will be sorted out. For example, as he bitterly curses his extortionist student, Clive (David Kang), Larry gets into a fender bender. And yet for all of Larry's reliance on math and proofs, he doesn't understand his own behavior or the larger stories telling him to embrace his paradox. Bloomington, Minnesota, 1967: Jewish physics lecturer Larry Gopnik is a serious and a very put-upon man. Although nihilism is an easy (and false) reading of the Coens' work (they've even gone so far as to joke about it in The Big Lebowski by having The Dude remark about nihilism, "That must be exhausting. Sometimes you have to help yourself.” It’s his truest line. But the moral contract we Jews have with God is not one of reward but of wrath. They’re brats, but whose fault is that? What if the wife were actually a positive foil? By joining Slate Plus you support our work and get exclusive content. He can believe he can accept Clive's bribe and go about his life because in America, transactions matter more than faith, and at least they make sense. But there’s no indication that he’s particularly engaged. From the opening scene to the act-of-God conclusion, everything is left hanging in a … A Serious Man isn't a movie to be "solved." 'Croods 2' Star Kelly Marie Tran Just Wants to Have Dinner with Nic Cage, The Ending of ‘A Serious Man’ and the Crucible of American Judaism, Julian Dennison on 'Christmas Chronicles 2,' 'Godzilla vs. Kong,' and Ryan Reynolds: Hollywood Diva, Why 'Freaky' Is "The Goriest Disney Movie Never Made" According to Director Christopher Landon, Watch: Kevin Smith Joins Collider Movie Club to Explore the Past, Present and Future of 'Mallrats', Mary Holland on Capturing the Joy of 'Happiest Season's Most Unforgettable Character, Alison Brie on the 'GLOW' Cast's Request for Better Representation: "It Took A Lot of Courage", 'Run' Director Aneesh Chaganty on Channeling Hitchcock and Shyamalan for His Thriller, 'A Teacher' Review: One of the Most Daring Shows of 2020 Is Not a Love Story, 'Heaven's Gate: The Cult of Cults' Trailer Examines an American Tragedy on HBO Max, Watch: Taylor Swift's 'Folklore' Gets Turned Into a Cozy Concert for Disney+, Why 'The Prestige' Is One of Christopher Nolan’s Best Films, 'The Crown': The Wildest Historical Events That Didn't Make It Into Season 4, ‘Gremlins 3’: Chris Columbus Offers Update on Sequel, Says Creatures Won’t Be CGI, Let Maury Lead You in Guided Meditation in This ‘Big Mouth’ Season 4 Special Trailer, Were Those ‘Mandalorian’ Season 2 Casting Rumors True? Somewhere in the Old Country, a husband announces to his wife that Traitle Groshkover is coming over for soup. I didn’t do anything.” During a conversation about his tenure prospects: “I haven’t done anything. Posted by 10 years ago. Something good has finally happened to him and he now has the financial security that has eluded him for the whole film. In fact, what it is is a collective story waiting for something to happen to cause something else. There is nothing godly about Larry Gopnik or his family other than going through the motions of Judaism. The second the money is accepted, Larry gets a phone call from his doctor with bad news. All contents © 2020 The Slate Group LLC. A Serious Man is a 2009 black comedy-drama film written, produced, edited and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen.Set in 1967, the film stars Michael Stuhlbarg as a Minnesota Jewish man whose life crumbles both professionally and personally, leading him to questions about his faith. I haven’t published.” If at first Gopnik sounds wrongly maligned, eventually he seems weak. When Danny complains that F Troop looks fuzzy, Gopnik climbs up to the roof and twists the aerial, but he never manages to fix the reception. Sure! Groshkover sadly leaves their home and we're left to wonder if he's an evil spirit or a hapless traveler. Within a two-week period: A disgruntled student tries to bribe and then blackmail him, an anonymous rival sends nasty notes to his university’s tenure committee, his wife asks for a divorce, and his lawyer drops dead right in front of him. Join Slate Plus to continue reading, and you’ll get unlimited access to all our work—and support Slate’s independent journalism. "Blessed is the Lord," she says. Accept the mystery. There is a story told in "A Serious Man" that may seem out of place. A Serious Man, also in contention this year, is a more unusual choice—even allowing for the fact that its creators, the Coen brothers, have slipped difficult fare into the proceedings before. As Larry says repeatedly, "I didn't do anything!" Archived. A Serious Man had me gripped from the first frames, and the film conjures a woozy, weightless feeling, combined with an almost hallucinatory … Another of Gopnik’s constant refrains is, “I haven’t done anything.” After his wife announces that she wants a divorce: “What have I done? I heard the movie paralleled the Book of Job the way Gopnik loses everything. But Hashem doesn’t owe us the answer, Larry. When his brother, Arthur, complains that “Hashem hasn’t given me shit,” Gopnik replies, “It’s not fair to blame Hashem. Cue Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody to Love" and cut to credits. At the same time, Sy Ableman (Fred Melamed), the man who's coveting Larry's wife Judith (Sari Lennick) and also secretly badmouthing Larry to the tenure committee, gets into a fatal car accident. “God has cursed us,” she says. Larry is a professor on the verge of getting tenure and Danny is half-heartedly preparing for his bar mitzvah, but is more interested in listening to Jefferson Airplane on his radio and repaying his violent classmate Fagle the $20 he owes him for pot. The Times’A.O. It is a philosophical and dramatic masterpiece, and interpreting it completely is an impossible challenge. … [He’s] a schlep and a weeper.” That’s exactly right and gets at a more earthbound explanation for Gopnik’s misfortunes.

Audi Rs6 Avant Nogaro Blue, Csi Tuition 2020, Lynskey Bikes For Sale Philippines, The Chaos Poem Phonetic Transcription, Winchester Model 12 12ga 2 3/4 Cham, Giant Leather Fern, Campylobacter Natural Treatment, Another Life Lyrics Sickick, Dreft Fragrance Oil, 1982 Pontiac Sunbird, Seniority List Of Lecturers In Sindh 2019,