A Serious Man from the Coen Brothers
Joel and Ethan Coen make movies like nobody else's, but even by their standards, A Serious Man is in a class by itself: a complete original that's one of the brothers' best. After a deeply weird Yiddish folk-tale prologue set in 19th-century Poland, the picture shifts to the region and era of the Coens' own upbringing, a Minneapolis suburb in 1967.
Larry Gopnik (a superbly concentrated portrait in comic anguish by Michael Stuhlbarg) is a college physics prof facing a welter of crises and distractions: review by the tenure committee, son Danny's bar mitzvah, a cryptic-verging-on-sinister protest from a Korean-American student, the alienation of wife Judith's affections by widower Sy Ableman, the ongoing encroachment of brother Arthur and his sebaceous cyst--and don't even mention the proto-Nazi who lives next door. All these, and more, form a screenplay of such intricacy that the blackly comic tensions of one shaggy-dog narrative strand leap synapse-like to another; the movie becomes a symphony of metaphysical dread and humor.
Details & Dimensions
Available on Blu-ray, DVD, and streaming from Amazon.