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      A Serious Man

      2009, Comedy/Drama, 1h 45m

      225 Reviews 50,000+ Ratings

      What to know

      Critics Consensus

      Blending dark humor with profoundly personal themes, the Coen brothers deliver what might be their most mature -- if not their best -- film to date. Read critic reviews

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      A Serious Man  Photos

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      Movie Info

      Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg) is a physics professor at a 1960s university, but his life is coming apart at the seams. His wife (Sari Lennick) is leaving him, his jobless brother (Richard Kind) has moved in, and someone is trying to sabotage his chances for tenure. Larry seeks advice from three different rabbis, but whether anyone can help him overcome his many afflictions remains to be seen.

      • Rating: R (Language|Brief Violence|Some Nudity)

      • Genre: Comedy, Drama

      • Original Language: English

      • Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

      • Producer: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

      • Writer: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

      • Release Date (Theaters):  limited

      • Release Date (Streaming):

      • Box Office (Gross USA): $9.2M

      • Runtime:

      • Distributor: Focus Features

      • Production Co: Working Title Films, Studio Canal

      Cast & Crew

      Richard Kind
      Fred Melamed
      Sari Lennick
      Aaron Wolff
      Jessica McManus
      Amy Landecker
      David Kang
      Benjamin Portnoe
      Alan Mandell
      George Wyner
      Simon Helberg
      Adam Arkin
      Joel Coen
      Joel Coen
      Ethan Coen
      Joel Coen
      Tim Bevan
      Eric Fellner
      Robert Graf
      Roger Deakins
      Jess Gonchor
      Mary Zophres
      Carter Burwell
      Nancy Haigh
      Deborah Jensen

      News & Interviews for A Serious Man

      Critic Reviews for A Serious Man

      Audience Reviews for A Serious Man

      • Sep 12, 2012

        A put-upon Jewish suburbanite suffers the trials and indignities of everyday life in the 1960s. I'm a big fan of the Coen brothers and I'm convinced that this, their latest straight comedy, is a quality film. The problem is that its audience is a very narrow one; namely Jewish Americans. Being as Goy as they come, the cultural references flew straight over my head and I found the constant religious references utterly baffling. Michael Stuhlbarg makes a very sympathetic central character and the gentle humour is always amusing. When I actually understood it. I'm sure the sly and witty observations on the modern Jewish condition are hilarious to the intended demographic but if like me you're not part of it, I suspect you'll find it equally bemusing.

        Super Reviewer
      • Mar 25, 2012

        Truly unique and full of deep questions about life, this is the Coen's most mature and reflective work. With hilarious dialogue and once again pitch perfect performances from the entire cast.

        Super Reviewer
      • Feb 24, 2012

        A really bad movie, easily the worst of the Coen brothers. There is NOTHING funny about it, and even if themes do exist here, they are buried upon layers of dullness. Everything that happens is totally senseless and pointless, there's not a single good thing about A Serious Man. Avoid at all costs.

        Super Reviewer
      • Jan 14, 2012

        The Coens have always had a knack for mixing the bleak with the humorous. With A Serious Man, they apply that method to matters of faith. The man in question is Larry Gopnick, a physics professor at the local Minnesota university. He has a wonderful job, a family that he loves and a secure place in the community. Everything seems on the up and up for Larry. But things begin to change for the worse, and he is faced with a series of very unfortunate events. His wife wants a "get", a ritual divorce of some kind. His application for tenure at the university is suddenly in danger due to a series of anonymous letters. Both his son and daughter are sneaking money out of his wallet. One for marijuana, the other for a nose job. This forces Larry on his own spiritual quest, and he asks some important questions: Why does God let bad things happen to good people? Is he even there at all? Because of it's subject matter, A Serious Man is the Coen's most universal film. Though the film centers on a man of the Jewish persuasion, any pious or questioning adult may find some insight in this wonderfully and bitterly comic examination of the spiritual dilemma. The film as a whole (including the the opening Yiddish folk tale, I believe) is a proclamation of the uncertainty of God's existence. Either he is there throughout the film, or he is absent. Either the Yiddish couple of the opening story and Larry are cursed by God, or everything happens randomly with no rhyme or reason. He either exists or he doesn't and the film doesn't spell out an answer for us. The film is a very dark but bitterly funny examination of that question. Michael Stuhlbarg is very good as the hapless Larry Gopnick as he treated as a proverbial punching bag by everyone around him, and God if he's even present. Richard Kind is also very good as his brilliant but socially inept brother Arthur, who can't seem to catch any breaks of his own. Both performances skillfully mix that bitter humor and sadness that is emblematic of the piece as a whole. The Coen's script give keen insight into their observations and history with the faith of their childhood. As for where the Coens land on the question of God, own could probably take a good listen to the Jefferson Airplane song that plays throughout the film. When everything is lies, and all within you dies then what? Find someone to love.For in a world without a God, all we have is each other.

        Super Reviewer

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