OSCAR NIGHT PREP | “A Serious Man”

A movie about nothing, without all the humor of a show about nothing. It felt a little like the Saturday Night Live skit spin-off movies, meaning it was a clever idea that works well for a short, but falls short when stretched to a full length motion picture. There were a couple of captivating scenes, including the first of the movie which was an intriguing Hebrew folk tale with Fyvush Finkel in the role of a dybbuk.

The Coen brothers do a beautiful job of staging 1967 through the various scenes and characters including plenty of block constructed buildings, a doctor who smokes, and gorgeous Coupe de Villes. However, I felt no investment in any of the characters and the plot doesn't go anywhere. Which is actually the point I think they were trying to make. In my favorite scene of the movie, Rabbi Nachter tells an offbeat story of a dentist who finds a message on the back of one of his patient's teeth. His conclusion to the story provides a nice summary to the movie itself:

What would happen? Not much. He went back to work. For a while he checked every patient's teeth for new messages. He didn't find any. In time, he found he'd stopped checking. He returned to life. These questions that are bothering you, Larry - maybe they're like a toothache. We feel them for a while, then they go away.

The stunning visual transportation back to the 60's and the quirky subplots were just enough to rank it above District 9 but below Julie and Julia on my list of 17 movies to see before the Oscars.

1. The Hurt Locker
2. Inglorious Basterds
3. Precious
4. (500) Days of Summer
5. Up in the Air
6. Up
7. Star Trek
8. Avatar
9. Julie and Julia
> A Serious Man
10. District 9


  • Did you see the movie? If so, what did you think of it?
  • What else have you seen that is Oscar-worthy?
  • What movies do you want to see before Oscar night?

Leave your thoughts in the comments section.