The Search for Answers in A Serious Man

By Jason Haggstrom, June 21, 2010

The Coen Brothers’ A Serious Man is a film about suffering, religious tenets, miscommunication, and the way we perceive the universe and our existence within it. But the most common reaction to the A Serious Man is one of confusion. The film is complicated by multiple narratives, the idiomatic language of Jewish culture, and a highly ambiguous finale that leaves the viewer with more questions than answers. It’s a rare film that doesn’t wrap up all of its plot points and answer all of its questions by the end of the third act. For some viewers, coming away with no answers or proper resolution is the film’s undoing. But a close inspection of the film reveals it to be a narrative about the unknown. It’s a narrative designed to convey the confusion about our existence in the universe and how we, as a species with the cognitive ability to ask questions, must find contentment when we aren’t given answers.

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