A Serious Man Blu-Ray Review

Cover Art and Menus: 8/10
Would I have this as a poster in my home? Yes. I like the simple little tale it tries to tell, or not. It’s fun and reminds me of all the goodness this movie has to offer. The menu us just a Blu-Ray blurb on the side, nothing to brag about. I know I need to be more accepting of these covers, most of which are so boring they might as well cover the damn thing in white paper and string, that would be more interesting. So, when one comes along like this one I have to say, it’s kind making me want to go get a big frame, and get it…now, where to hang it.

Features: 5/10

  • Becoming Serious – A good 30 minute look at the making of the movie. Interviews with cast and crew along with an overall good vibe from the brothers who seem to keep cranking out these ‘down to earth’ movies. I would like to see more about the process, but then again, sometimes too much background can fuzzy the star of the show, the film itself.
  • Creating 1967 – Making a period movie takes some time and effort…then again, I”m sure there’s lots of vintage clothing and knick knacks sitting around. I mean, yes, it’s a great effort to reproduce the feeling of a certain period of time, but it’s the 60’s people, it’s not like they have to wing it and hope to get it right. It was only 42 years ago! 🙂 (I know this because I was born in the year the movie was set it, 1967)
  • Hebrew & Yiddish For Boys – If you are not Jewish or speak Hebrew, like me, you will like this extra that plots out several of the terms used in the film. It’s always good to learn something new.

The Movie: 9/10
I love this movie. It’s funny, entertaining, it’s poignant, and lovely. I can’t say more good stuff than that to be honest. Where do I start? The story is about a middle aged Jewish Physics professor in a suburb in the Midwest. He’s finding out that life wasn’t what he thought. His wife proclaims she’s had enough of things as they are. He seems like a nice enthusiastic guy so it’s hard to figure why she’s over it, but as the story goes he finds in himself that he might have been a bit blind to his life and in the process the wife just got tired of not being in the kind of marriage she must have once thought they would have.

It’s not an acrimonious kind of separation, they all act like grown ups while he, our leading man stays in a motel with his seemingly unstable brother. All this is while he’s facing a Tenor hearing about his position, and the threat of a student who wants a grade changed at any cost….it all sounds so blase, but it’s not at all. It’s dynamic, and exciting and funny and so engrossing because of the cast and the art design of the whole movie I just got lost in it.  The problems he’s having all pile up on him and he turns to Rabbi’s for guidance. He goes through a series of meetings and consultations, and even kind of seeks advice from a semi-sleazy divorce attorney, but no one seems to have any answers. He’s on his own and he will either let it all bury him in misery or he’ll find a way to see it all from a new perspective. That’s one of the themes of the movie, that your life is what you make it. Things that come your way are what they are and you decide how you act on them and then move on with your life.

His son is about to have his Bah Mitzvah and is finding his own path, amidst some teenage swearing, pot smoking, fighting with his sister and a general numbness to his parents’ troubles, this kid steals the show for me. He’s awesome. It does make the story seem a bit unbalanced, so much attention on the father and son, and less on the mother and daughter, but hey, the Cohen brothers might not be diggin’ on telling that side of things this time around. I’ll wait patiently for another movie pursuing more female tales of life discovery.

I would say my favorite part of the movie is when he’s on the roof fixing the antennae and catches a glimpse of his neighbor nude sun bathing. It’s not pervy or weird, it’s like he’s truly seeing something he’s never seen before, a woman, just a woman laying there exposed to the world hidden only by a fence but still, brave, bold, free. I think in that moment we see on his face utter amazingment and envy and only a hint of sexual desire. The main thing about that moment is that it’s like he’s looking out a window at a world he’s never been to and he’s only slightly afraid of it, more interested and driven toward it, but in a somewhat old fashioned repressed way. It was the last 60’s after all.

If you are looking for the meaning of life, or some meaning in life, or anything meaningful in your life, a movie might not be the way to fill the riddle for you. However, A Serious Man will stimulate something in your brain, your view of life, if you’re lucky, that you will take away with you and maybe ponder down the road….or not…it is just a movie.

Audio & Video: 8/10
A serious man is presented in 1.33:1 & 1.85:1, why is that you ask well the small intro scene is shot in full frame and the rest in wide screen. The transfer here is simply gorgeous, cinematographer Roger Deakins who also did the cinematography for the superb “The assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford. Deakin’s uses a wonderful lens technique in A Serious Man and in Jesse James that sees the characters as though they are through sheet glass, it’s impressive and here is almost a progression of what he achieved in Jesse James. The parts that are not through glass are sharp, black levels are pitch perfect and there are no signs of DNr or edge enhancment.

Audio is kept subtle with the DTS HD-Master Audio 5.1 track keeping the dialog front and center where it should be, there is the occasssional sound pan including an impressive one where a boy runs across the street. Jefferson Airplane’s music also sounds incredible here with a title sequence that actually takes place inside a boy’s head (you need to see it to understand it).

Overall this is an impressive movie (it’s nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards this year) and the Blu-Ray presentation preserves the vision perfectly. highly Recommended!

Value: 8/10
Get it, buy it, rent it, watch it, however you can legally get your hands on this movie, go for it. It’s a wonderful movie watching experience at any price as far as I’m concerned. The extras are slim pickings, but that’s not a big deal when the movie is so satisfying.

Overall Score 9/10