A Serious Man

A Serious Man

Ethan Coen (2009)

101min
15 Certificate
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Review

Our Score
A physics professor in 1960s Minneapolis turns to a series of rabbis for advice when his life starts falling apart at the seams in this thoughtful comedy from the Coen brothers. Michael Stuhlbarg heads an excellent cast refreshingly free of Hollywood heavy-hitters as Larry, who has just learned that his wife (Sari Lennick) wants a divorce. Meanwhile, he's fearful of not being granted tenure at college, his socially maladjusted brother (Richard Kind) is in the bathroom draining his cyst, and there's worse to come... This has elements of wicked farce as calamities pile upon the hapless, Job-like protagonist, but primarily it's a reflection on the ways we try to understand a world that so often seems to be having fun at our expense. Rigorously controlled, perhaps at the expense of a little emotional light and shade, this is one of the Coens' subtlest films. Expect smiles, grimaces, a slightly furrowed brow, and, finally, a feeling of satisfaction that here is one film whose circuitous storytelling and offbeat wit is worth sticking with.

Summary

A mild-mannered Jewish professor finds his simple, carefully ordered life falling apart as his wife leaves him, his kids go off the rails and a failing student threatens him with legal action. As things go from bad to worse, he turns to a trio of rabbis for spiritual advice. The Coen brothers' 1960s-set black comedy, starring Michael Stuhlbarg and Richard Kind.

Cast & Crew

Larry Gopnik Michael Stuhlbarg
Uncle Arthur Richard Kind
Sy Ableman Fred Melamed
Judith Gopnik Sari Lennick
Divorce lawyer Adam Arkin
Danny Gopnik Aaron Wolff
Sarah Gopnik Jessica McManus
Mrs Samsky Amy Landecker
Rabbi Marshak Alan Mandell
Dybbuk Fyvush Finkel
Shtetl husband Allen Lewis Rickman
Rabbi Nachtner George Wyner
Director Ethan Coen
Director Joel Coen
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: UniversalGuidance: Swearing, sex scenes, nudity, drug abuse.Available on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 20 Nov 2009
Comedy Drama