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A Serious Man (2009)


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That's a great post, Mike. It demands better engagement than I can give it, but for now, I'd say the answer is no.


Know your limits and boundaries. Don't put yourself in situations that will cause you to regress.


Now, I wouldn't characterize A Serious Man that way you did, but so what? You see it the way you see it, and it's not something you can see around, or see in other ways.


Sure, there's a chance that additional viewings would open you up to other aspects of the film, but why take the chance? There's too much risk that you won't, or that what bothered you on first viewing would be magnified on second viewing. When you're ready to rewatch it, you'll know.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I think you are saying that you have already seen this?  I'd encourage you to take very seriously your efforts to avoid anything that you need to avoid that would trigger the temptation to indulge any past addiction.  There is nothing wrong with avoiding this film (or any film at all, for that matter) if you've found it to trigger such a temptation.  Really only you can judge this.


That said, the pot smoking and adultery in this film is not played positively and neither does the film glorify any of it.  Nor would I agree that A Serious Man is interested in a "whatever, nevermind" philosophy.  In the story, both the temptation to adultery and the pot-smoking son are a few of the many problems that are besieging the protagonist.  But triggers are different for different people.  If even a negative portrayal of these things are difficult for you to see, then just move on and focus on other films.  Given the short history of cinema, there are still already more worthwhile films that exist than any of us will have time to see in our lifetimes.

Now, I wouldn't characterize A Serious Man that way you did, but so what?

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I agree with Christian and Jeremy.  If you fear a film might be an occasion of sin for you, by all means do not watch it, regardless of how many people you know love it.  Everyone has different tastes and different sensibilities, and those should be respected.  If your life experiences and personal weaknesses lead you to a sinful takeaway from a film, then don't watch it again, even if others call it one of the greatest films ever made.  That applies to everyone.  There are countless other great films out there which are just as meaningful and have just as much substance without the temptation.  As Christian said, it is possible that repeat viewings could make the film's virtues more apparent and make the pot smoking and adultery look less glamorous and less tempting.  On the other hand, it is also possible that repeat viewings could make the recollection stronger and the scenes become more tempting.  It's certainly believable that a portrayal of a past addiction, even a negative portrayal, could lead to a relapse.  If you think there is a risk of the latter, then I would say it's not worth it, but that decision has to be made by you, based on your knowledge of your limits.

Edited by Evan C

"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

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It's hard to make any recommendation here. This is a matter of individual conscience.


There are times when it is healthy and good for us to push (or to be pushed) past some of our hang-ups and scruples (particularly for those of us who had our consciences shaped in cultures marked by fear and paranoia). But in cases where there's a history of addiction, I'm reluctant to suggest that anyone should return to something that he or she found to be a source of temptation.

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I can appreciate where you're coming from, Mike.  The young boy's pot use is portrayed in a rather comical light, and I can certainly see where scenes such as this could prompt some faux 'good old days' reminiscing.


Craving is a funny thing.  I swore off alcohol almost a year ago after realizing that I'm an odd bird who can limit himself to 1-2 beers when drinking alone, but has a history of caving to peer pressure and drinking in excess in social situations.  Thus, abstinence seems the safest way for me to proceed.  Most of the time I don't miss the stuff, but craving will sometimes hit, sometimes at very understandable times (high stress, etc.) but sometimes rather randomly.  Watching Philomena recently with the casual imbibing (not even misusing) of Guinness, I craved a cold one.  But then I've watched countless other films with similar imagery and felt nothing.

To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa


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I'm a few years late, but I finally watched this last night.


I didn't get it.


Not a laugh, not even a smile from yours truly.


Am reading the beginning of this thread.  I really wish I saw the movie you guys did.

Nick Alexander

Keynote, Worship Leader, Comedian, Parodyist

Host of the Prayer Meeting Podcast - your virtual worship oasis. (Subscribe)

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