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A Serious Man (2009)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  6 November 2009 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 95,576 users   Metascore: 79/100
Reviews: 317 user | 337 critic | 35 from Metacritic.com

Larry Gopnik, a Midwestern physics 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 16 wins & 60 nominations. See more awards »



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


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


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

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Release Date:

6 November 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Un hombre serio  »

Box Office


$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$251,337 (USA) (2 October 2009)


$9,190,525 (USA) (1 January 2010)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The voice of Dick Dutton, the Columbia Record Club employee who harasses Larry on the phone, is supplied by actor Warren Keith. This is the second time he has appeared in a Coen Brothers film playing a character heard only on the phone. He also supplies the voice of Reilly Diefenbach, the GMAC finance officer who calls Jerry Lundegaard in Fargo (1996). See more »


One of the albums sent by the Columbia Record Club was "Cosmo's Factory", a CCR album released in 1970, not 1967. See more »


[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 »


Somebody to Love
Written by Darby Slick
Performed by Jefferson Airplane
Courtesy of The RCA Records Label
By arrangement with Sony BMG Music Entertainment
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

I don't understand it so I will dismiss it as worthless and return to the familiar.
16 May 2012 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

I can see why many people would dismiss this. Like the reviewer who watched "52 minutes" and turned it off because none of the characters were likable so it would be a waste of time to continue.

Those who expect life to be a series of plausible outcomes, logically following some kind of cause and effect order are always disappointed by honest works of art, not to mention life itself. One of the very themes of this film are those kinds of people and their need to cling to some sort of tradition, structure, and belief in order to deny their fear.

Another theme was perspective and perception. That what may seem mundane and meaningless may be filled with the most profound meaning and that which we place so much value in may be worth absolutely nothing.

"Receive with simplicity everything that happens to you."

If you can enjoy a movie that leaves you with questions as much as one that attempts to provide answers then I highly recommend a viewing.

33 of 46 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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