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A Serious Man (2009)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  20 November 2009 (UK)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 86,236 users   Metascore: 79/100
Reviews: 308 user | 331 critic | 35 from Metacritic.com

Larry Gopnik, a Midwestern mathematics teacher, watches his life unravel over multiple sudden incidents. Though seeking meaning and answers amidst his turmoils, he seems to keep sinking.

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 27 wins & 47 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Jessica McManus ...
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Brent Braunschweig ...
David Kang ...
Benjamin Portnoe ...
Jack Swiler ...
Andrew S. Lentz ...
Jon Kaminski Jr. ...
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Storyline

Bloomington, Minnesota, 1967: Jewish physics lecturer Larry Gopnik is a serious and a very put-upon man. His daughter is stealing from him to save up for a nose job, his pot-head son, who gets stoned at his own bar-mitzvah, only wants him round to fix the TV aerial and his useless brother Arthur is an unwelcome house guest. But both Arthur and Larry get turfed out into a motel when Larry's wife Judy, who wants a divorce, moves her lover, Sy, into the house and even after Sy's death in a car crash they are still there. With lawyers' bills mounting for his divorce, Arthur's criminal court appearances and a land feud with a neighbour Larry is tempted to take the bribe offered by a student to give him an illegal exam pass mark. And the rabbis he visits for advice only dole out platitudes. Still God moves in mysterious - and not always pleasant - ways, as Larry and his family will find out. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some sexuality/nudity and brief violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Language:

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Release Date:

20 November 2009 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Un hombre serio  »

Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£321,114 (UK) (20 November 2009)

Gross:

$9,190,525 (USA) (1 January 2010)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sarah Gopnik repeatedly talks about going to "The Whole". The Whole is the music club in the basement of the University of Minnesota student union. It opened in the 1960s. See more »

Goofs

Rabbi Marshak tells Danny "When the truth is found to be lies, and all the hope within you dies." The lyric in "Somebody to Love" is actually "...all the joy within you dies". See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Shtetl Husband: What a marvel... what a marvel.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end of the credits is a line advising that "No Jews were harmed in the making of this motion picture." See more »

Connections

Referenced in Animation Lookback: DreamWorks Animation Part 6 (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds
Written by Marty Balin
Performed by Jefferson Airplane
Courtesy of The RCA Records Label
By arrangement with Sony BMG Music Entertainment
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
The Coen brothers hate humankind
30 January 2010 | by (Belgium) – See all my reviews

In a nutshell, the movie takes place in the 60's, in a very American/Jewish neighborhood. If I was Jewish I probably would take offense, because almost all the characters in the movie are unbearable for one reason or another. However, the Coen brothers are equal opportunities offenders and even if this movie concentrates on a Jewish environment, their other movies are generously filled with deepest contempt for all humankind, regardless of race, sex, nationality or religion.

The main character is a physician named Larry who is passive, meek and spineless beyond credibility. Or maybe that was supposed to be funny…. Anyway, lots of bad things happen to Larry, but I found it difficult to sympathize with him. Besides being unaware of his surroundings and the people around him to the point of autism, Larry is also seeking answers to the wrong questions in places where he cannot find any.

Bad things happen to good people for no reason whatsoever. We should all be acquainted with this disagreeable truth. However, humankind struggles hard to find a meaning in life. Unfortunately, searching for meaning to understand tragic events usually leads to absurd explanations and an even heavier burden of frustration.

This is what happens to Larry, but who cares? Certainly not me. As mentioned, he is almost completely detached from reality, so obviously he does not have a clue. But not only we have to follow Larry stumbling around like a blind man. To increase the indignity of the show, we are presented with a gallery of supporting characters, one more grotesque, ugly and disgusting than the other.

Actually, I can't think of a single character in this movie without an emotional or physical problem (or both). The full range of indignities includes an obese woman mercilessly shown shuffling her feet and struggling to move her heavy body; a string of the senior citizens chewing on their teeth less mouths and loosing track of what they are saying; a bunch of foul-mouthed teenagers, selfishly self-absorbed and focused only in bullying each other; a couple of sluttish housewives; a stupid red-neck neighbor; a bald, fat guy suffering from some sort of embarrassing skin disease; etc…. I am sure Diane Arbus would have been impressed with this gallery of monsters. Me, not so much.

And here is where I find the deal breaker with the Coen brother's filmography. There is not a single one of their movies that does not present a gallery of every-day freaks. People with grotesque physical and mental imperfections do exist, but they seem to inhabit the Coen universe in an exceeding large number, and I find the display of so much freakishness rather disturbing. Besides, I might agree about the fact that there is no meaning in life, but when I go to the cinema I want to see a good movie, I do not want to be patronized or to follow a philosophy lesson.


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I turned this off after the first scene. tomsriv2001
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