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
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 »
Danny's transistor radio behaves like a 1980s Walkman. When it is confiscated it has rewound to (or been paused at) the beginning of the song. Marshak mysteriously knows what Danny was listening to when the device was stopped. See more »
From the shtetl to the suburbs, the forces that run our lives are a mystery to us. We think we understand some of these laws, and try to live our lives according to them, but we are just barking up the wrong tree. Because sometime at some point, as the "serious man "finds out, life is going to kick our ass. Religions don't understand anything anymore than our hero of the film does. We are all just guessing. That's what this movie is about. It's pretty brilliant, acerbic, and downright cynical. A dybbuk could appear at your door anyday of the week, or a car crash could end you, or you could get diagnosed with cancer, or a tornado could come and sweep you away. There are laws that determine these things, but they are beyond our comprehension. And the things we choose to worry about are inconsequential. Life is capricious and will end you when it feels like it. Don't even try to figure out and religions don't understand it anymore than anyone else.
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