Diane Paulus on Ethan and Joel Coen

Director pair receives praise for 'A Serious Man'

The Coen brothers’ “A Serious Man” is a brilliant illustration of the mid­century collision of Jewish ethnicity and the American dream. The Coens’ nightmarish suburban world is rich with dynamic characters and stunning imagery. In the absurd but deeply personal landscape of the film, melding religious tradition with materialist culture leads to questions about the blurring of good and evil, life and death — the meaning of existence. The cultural shake-up of the 1960s, which has intrigued me in my own work, provides an ironic background for the Coen brothers’ characters, who deny responsibility and passively ask “Why me?” (The only hint of the intensity of the 1960s counterculture in the Coens’ blank suburbia is Jefferson Airplane’s insistent “Don’t You Want Somebody to Love?” snuck in through a teenager’s iPod precursor.) “A Serious Man,” with phenomenal Coen direction, is an outstanding American gothic anthem for the ’60s.

Diane Paulus helmed the current Broadway revival of “Hair.” She is also artistic director at American Repertory Theater.

More Scene

  • Common Would Support Oprah for President

    Common Says An Oprah Presidency Would Bring America Back to 'Compassionate Leaders' That 'Care About Human Beings' (EXCLUSIVE)

    The Coen brothers’ “A Serious Man” is a brilliant illustration of the mid­century collision of Jewish ethnicity and the American dream. The Coens’ nightmarish suburban world is rich with dynamic characters and stunning imagery. In the absurd but deeply personal landscape of the film, melding religious tradition with materialist culture leads to questions about the […]

  • SAG Awards Prep

    Sneak Peek at 2018 SAG Awards Post-Show Gala

    The Coen brothers’ “A Serious Man” is a brilliant illustration of the mid­century collision of Jewish ethnicity and the American dream. The Coens’ nightmarish suburban world is rich with dynamic characters and stunning imagery. In the absurd but deeply personal landscape of the film, melding religious tradition with materialist culture leads to questions about the […]

  • grace and frankie lisa kudrow

    Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin Talk the Realities of Aging at ‘Grace and Frankie’ Season 4 Premiere

    The Coen brothers’ “A Serious Man” is a brilliant illustration of the mid­century collision of Jewish ethnicity and the American dream. The Coens’ nightmarish suburban world is rich with dynamic characters and stunning imagery. In the absurd but deeply personal landscape of the film, melding religious tradition with materialist culture leads to questions about the […]

  • Sundance Parties

    Sundance 2018: The Insider's Party Guide

    The Coen brothers’ “A Serious Man” is a brilliant illustration of the mid­century collision of Jewish ethnicity and the American dream. The Coens’ nightmarish suburban world is rich with dynamic characters and stunning imagery. In the absurd but deeply personal landscape of the film, melding religious tradition with materialist culture leads to questions about the […]

  • '12 Strong' film premiere

    '12 Strong': Chris Hemsworth Hopes Film Can Reduce 'Misconceptions' About Afghanistan

    The Coen brothers’ “A Serious Man” is a brilliant illustration of the mid­century collision of Jewish ethnicity and the American dream. The Coens’ nightmarish suburban world is rich with dynamic characters and stunning imagery. In the absurd but deeply personal landscape of the film, melding religious tradition with materialist culture leads to questions about the […]

  • Guillermo del Toro, Greta Gerwig and

    Timothée Chalamet Says He'd Love to Work With Christopher Nolan or Guillermo del Toro

    The Coen brothers’ “A Serious Man” is a brilliant illustration of the mid­century collision of Jewish ethnicity and the American dream. The Coens’ nightmarish suburban world is rich with dynamic characters and stunning imagery. In the absurd but deeply personal landscape of the film, melding religious tradition with materialist culture leads to questions about the […]

  • Tracee Ellis Ross

    Tracee Ellis Ross at Image Makers Awards: 'Clothing Started as Armor for Me'

    The Coen brothers’ “A Serious Man” is a brilliant illustration of the mid­century collision of Jewish ethnicity and the American dream. The Coens’ nightmarish suburban world is rich with dynamic characters and stunning imagery. In the absurd but deeply personal landscape of the film, melding religious tradition with materialist culture leads to questions about the […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content