A Serious Man (2009)

R   |    |  Comedy, Drama


A Serious Man (2009) Poster

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.


7.1/10
135,736

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User Reviews


2 November 2009 | guypotok
One of their best
My wife and I saw the film last Friday. We talked about it for an hour over dinner and again in the evening. The more we discussed it the better we liked it.

It helps to be familiar with the paradox of Schrodinger's cat, a staple of quantum physics, which can be found on Wikipedia, before you go see this film. You might also want to understand the quantum concept of duality.

The entire movie examines Gopnick and his world==and to a lesser extent that of his teenage son--in light of these aspects of quantum mechanics. I could not find a single scene that did not address uncertainty and/or duality. The attempt to discern traditional religious meaning in this world is humorous in itself. The opening presents the paradox and is crucial to the rest of the film.

Unlike the local review for the film which described this as a "typical Coen Brothers film" and "weird" and "no closure at the end", I found this film to be quite literal and true to the principles of uncertainty and duality. The two major characters both find closure, and in retrospect, there is clearly a beginning, middle and end to the story the brothers wanted to tell.

But the movie continues after the closure, just as life continues on a daily basis, setting up another expectation of continual uncertainty.

Not being Jewish, I no doubt missed some of the double entendre and humor in the tradition. I would have liked to understand the Hebrew passage of the bar mitzvah ceremony, for example, and how it relates to the core theme of the film. But the movie is universal in its appeal, if you understand the basic concept of quantum mechanics upon which the film is based.

I rate this as one of their best films due to its intellectual foundation. Much more important to me than No Country.

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Details

Release Date:

6 November 2009

Language

English, Yiddish, Hebrew


Country of Origin

UK, France, USA

Filming Locations

Uptown Vision Clinic, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$251,337 4 October 2009

Gross USA:

$9,228,768

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$31,430,334

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