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.


Get More From IMDb

For an enhanced browsing experience, get the IMDb app on your smartphone or tablet.

Get the IMDb app

Reviews & Commentary

Add a Review

User Reviews

3 October 2009 | Blade_Le_Flambeur
Abstract and solid
A Serious Man, the Coen Bros new film, is different from what has come before it. Many will inevitably try to compare the numerous dream sequences to the surrealism and (Jewish) neuroticsm prevalent in Barton Fink. Others how the film beats up the character as the Coens did in the recent Burn After Reading, practically patronizing how shallow and often stupid they are. Yet the film is also filled with a great amount of warmth and despite the jolt the ending has-I think ultimately is a film about coping.

A plot summary doesn't do much to describe the film which is separated into a prologue set in Poland in Yiddish then chapter headings that show when the protagonist seeks out three main rabis. As his troubles compound the situations become increasingly bizarre and humorous. The humor feels more universal than, say, Burn After Reading. Particularly in the insulation of these characters as most, if not all scenes, take place from Larry's perspective. His unorthodox and uptight American neighbors, a Korean student of his, etc. all have very funny interactions with Larry that the audience enjoys. His inability to really deal with his surroundings and his timid nature are played for great comedy.

It's hard to effectively write up about the film's merits as it is so abstract. Audience opinion is likely to be divided as this does not conveniently fit into the Coens cannon. There is no ransom plot, no bursts of sudden violence and no major stars who make fools of themselves. Instead the film is tightly constructed by trying to convey the atmosphere of living and dealing in this time and place. The ambiance of the film is perhaps its strongest and weakest element. Since it relies so much on mood and texture, it's hard to do a full critical analysis. Many will differ in their response to the significance of the ending or the significance to the film on the whole. Personally I recommend it.

Metacritic Reviews

Critic Reviews


Release Date:

6 November 2009


English, Yiddish, Hebrew

Country of Origin

UK, France, USA

Filming Locations

Uptown Vision Clinic, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Box Office


$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$251,337 4 October 2009

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:


Contribute to this page

The Best Shows Returning in 2021

Dive back into your favorites as we round up all the best series returning to TV and streaming in 2021.

See the full list

6 Shows Everyone's Still Talking About

It's not too late to join in the conversation on the buzzworthy shows that IMDb users can't get enough of. Catch up with our recommendations.

Watch the video

Around The Web


Provided by Taboola

More To Explore

Search on Amazon.com