A delight for pseuds wishing to engage in some normative constructivism (where a film pushes the spectator to imagine more or other than what they are seeing), allusions to David and Bathsheba, and arguably Job. And as for a satire on the idolatry of 'tenure' and the tragicomic plight of the modernist 'loser', it is a fascinating experience worthy of repeat viewing.
For sure this is not comedy. For sure this is not drama. For sure this is not about judaism. It is just about a troubled man, with problems in his job, with his family & marriage. That's all. Very much unfunny & immensely boring. Incredibly overrated movie. I am not at all interested "to learn" about Joel & Ethan Coen's background & I absolutely don't care about their childhood in Minessota. If you care, go for it.
In all of the Coen brother's brilliance this peculiar gem may take the cake as the one to remember from the 21st century. The film deals in many moral quandaries never over indulging in its own brilliance. It keeps an appropriate distance at all times allowing for a wonderful build-up to a climatic scene that leaves you speechless. An absolute blast of a film for any lover of cinema.
This movie... wow. I couldn't peel myself away, half expecting it to uncover some essential truth. Only the Coens can make a character's incessant misery a fun watch. I don't always enjoy open-ended films, but here it's part of the point. Just like Larry's quest for meaning, the audience has to concede that only the setup is provided, and it is up to us to find our own closure. "Please, accept the mystery" ;)
Don't be fooled by the title of this Coen classic. ASM is actually quite the opposite of serious. In typical Coen Brothers fashion, humour is the result of a character's suffering and perhaps incompetency. ASM operates similarly to a parable in that it seems to want to teach its audience a lesson. What this lesson is I am unsure, but it is intent on teaching it which I admire most remarkably.