I recently managed to get myself a copy of the latest Coen brothers film A Serious Man and after a few weeks of finding the time I finally got down to watching it today.
As a fan of slow, quirky comedy I was hoping a lot from the film, as all reviews stated that A Serious Man is full of the awkward, almost cruel humour I love. Plus for the most part the characters are all Jewish, being of Jewish roots myself it's nice to brush up on the cultural and religious differences you'll find between a film like this and a film set in the more traditionally based view of Christianity or Atheism.
Carrying on from that last point viewers who aren't up to scratch with their Jewish terminology may be ever so slightly lost but not enough to dampen their enjoyment of the film. Only the opening scenes (spoken in Yiddish, with subtitles) would really confuse I think. Even then you can guess what's going on.
The black humour starts from the very beginning, and I don't really want to ruin the story by giving away the various happenings but in a brief summary the story revolves around Larry Gopnik, quietly spoken and seemingly happy physics professor at an undisclosed University seeking tenure and trying to understand the sudden and unexpected revelations in his life, a disobedient son, surly daughter, genius but socially inept brother and the seperation from his wife, who is leaving him for their pompous friend Sy. Add issues with Neighbours, lawyers, 3 seperate rabbi's, the police and an anecdote about a dentist and you have the synopsis to the film.
Ultimately upsetting, genuinely funny and heart warming at the same time I can see why the film reaped such accolades as it did upon it's original release. Pretty much all my film reviews seem to end with 'not a film for everyone' and the same applies here but people who enjoy well made and well shot stories about life and it's intricacies mixed in with a large dose of black humour will love it.