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Movie Review: A Serious Man

9 February 2010

There is not much I can say about the Coen Brother’s latest film A Serious Man without giving the whole thing away, so I need to be careful with this review. The reason I need to be careful is because this is a movie I strongly recommend  (..not for kids, though – there is some full-frontal female nudity, some strong sexual content, drug use [MJ] and swearing).

Many have asserted that the movie is derived from the Book of Job. This is correct to an extent, but misses the other Biblical allusions – Most notably to another wisdom book – Proverbs. For example, the recurrent Jefferson Airplane lyrics,

When the truth is found to be lies, and all the joys within you dies, don’t you want somebody to love ..

is played throughout the movie, and is revealed as sage advice. Arguably, the Jefferson Airplane lyrics are a summary of Proverbs 1:20-33 .

There are also allusions to an event in the life of King David (at least two, to my reckoning). The movie poster in fact, is a dead giveaway to one of these.

I’ll say a couple more things, and then shut up, to not spoil everything:

1) You know something is amiss when the Schroedinger’s Cat Paradox is brought up a couple of times, and the plot of the movie resembles the Book of Job … right?

2) The first five or so minutes of the movie explains the last 100 minutes. In fact, if you miss the first five minutes, you’re not going to understand the rest of the movie, period.

Receive with simplicity whatever happens to you,” or so the saying goes. The alternative, according to the Coens, is to curse God and die.

What’dya know? Hollywood got it right, for a change.

– Elder

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