Is “A Serious Man” Better Than “Fargo”?

The new Esquire has come out (yeah, it’s the one with the mostly nude Kate Beckinsdale on it, asserting she’s the Sexiest Woman Alive) raving about “A Serious Man,” the Coen brothers movie that opens in wide release this weekend. The magazine suggests that the movie, filmed in St. Louis Park and Minneapolis (about four blocks from my home), among other locations, is the Coen brothers’ wisest since “The Big Lebowski.”

Great movie, “The Big Lebowski.” Cult classic even. (Yesterday, I passed a car with the bumper sticker, “Not on the carpet, man,” a memorable line from the film.) But maybe we should compare it to “Fargo”—a caper, not a contemplative movie, mind you—but generally regarded as the Coens’ best, most complete film, number 84 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 best American movies.

Is “A Serious Man” that good? Is it at least good enough to win out as the best Coen brothers’ film made in Minnesota?

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