Study Guide

Fargo Family

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In Fargo we see Marge and Norm in the process of building a family… and we see Jerry effectively dismantling his own family, concocting a scheme that will inadvertently lead to the deaths of his wife and his father-in-law. They're starkly different pictures.

Marge and Norm seem content with the way things are; they're living within their means and enjoying the simple things. By contrast, Jerry is frantically attempting to pay off a debt and get quick cash, which brings his world collapsing down around him. The movie juxtaposes these two images of family life, providing some teachable moments. Watch and learn, young padawans.

Questions About Family

  1. What makes Marge and Norm's marriage happy? (If you think their marriage is happy, that is).
  2. Does Jerry ever consider his own family? Or is he just scrambling to help himself?
  3. What do Marge and Norm understand that Jerry doesn't understand about family?
  4. Why do the Coens always show the Gundersons eating together or watching TV in bed?

Chew on This

Marge's family life is portrayed as corny, uber-conventional, and unsophisticated: mediocre art on the walls, too much TV, low-end restaurants. We're meant to be judgmental about it.

Even though it's corny and unsophisticated, the film's message is that this is what a happy life is really about. We feel guilty for being judgmental about it.

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