A Serious Man

  • Michael Stuhlbarg: Larry Gopnik
  • Richard Kind: Uncle Arthur
  • Fred Melamed: Sy Ableman
  • Sari Lennick: Judith Gopnik
  • Aaron Wolff: Danny Gopnik
  • Jessica McManus: Sarah Gopnik
  • Peter Breitmayer: Mr. Brandt
  • Brent Braunschweig: Mitch Brandt
  • David Kang: Clive Park
  • Alan Mandell: Rabbi Marshak
  • Amy Landecker: Mrs. Samsky
  • George Wyner: Rabbi Nachtner
  • Fyvush Finkel: Traitle Groshkover, Dybbuk
  • Simon Helberg: Rabbi Scott
  • Adam Arkin: Divorce Lawyer
  • Michael Lerner: Solomon Schlutz

A Serious Man is an American feature film from the year 2009. Was directed by Ethan and Joel Coen, who also wrote the screenplay, produced the film and took over the section under their joint pseudonym Roderick Jaynes. Located the black comedy in 1967 in the suburbs of the Midwest, the main character and most of the other characters belong to the Jewish community. It is the hitherto most personal work of the Coen brothers. They explained that they had drawn in the description of the milieu of memories of her own youth in Minnesota, but none of the figures is autobiographical. The film consists of " oddities and curiosities ," " quirky characters and curious anecdotes ." Many critics drew comparisons with the main character of the Old Testament figure of Job, God subjects with severe blows of fate a test.


The film begins with an allegorical scene, set in a Polish shtetl. A couple arguing about whether a nocturnal visitor is a dybbuk or not. The woman stabs him in the chest, and he staggers bleeding out into the night and disappear.

At the beginning of the main story is Larry Gopnik for a routine checkup at the doctor. As a physics professor, he leads a quiet life in the midwestern United States and lives with his family, which is part of the Jewish community, a terraced house in a settlement. Just as he has a prospect of a future permanent position, opened his wife that she wants a divorce because her with his widowed friend Sy Ableman was now together. Thus begins a round of setbacks for Larry: His suffering from schizophrenia brother Arthur, who has taken up with him and his family, threatens to arrest for illegal gambling. A student tries to bribe him in order to pass an exam. After meeting with his employer an anonymous letters which compromise him and thus jeopardize his job for life. In addition, Larry, who with his brother lives in a motel now bring different circumstances in financial problems, such as the payment of his attorney, he has committed in the course of a neighborhood dispute, and his impending divorce. This situation is again tightened considerably, as Larry drives the family car at a self-inflicted accident to scrap. In addition, he should pay for the funeral expenses of his rival Sy Ableman, who came at the same time to his accident with another car accident. The summit of the plight seems to be reached, as his brother Arthur a complaint of prohibited initial contact in a bar and threatens sodomy, where Larry is suggested that a defense lawyer obligation. To make matters worse is Larry eyewitness, as a lawyer who had allegedly found the solution to his neighborhood dispute, dies in office of a heart attack.

Because of his numerous personal problems investigated Larry pastoral assistance at various rabbis, however, can help only to a very limited him or want. Meanwhile, Larry is constantly plagued by nightmares.

Briefly some of the problems seem solvable. During the Bar Mitzvah of their son, who smokes pot before the event, but the ceremony may terminate nevertheless successful, Larry and his wife apparently come closer again. In addition, Larry's Permanent seems to be finally secure. He decides to leave his fallen by students but made ​​to pay the bribe his legal bill. Shortly thereafter, Larry gets the call from his doctor, who asks him for an instant face to face meeting. It had to do with the X-rays of his recent visit to the doctor, but more details will not know you. Larry's fate leaves the film according to seasoned by hardships open. Also remain open to the consequences of the tornado, the hurtling to the end of the film to the school of Larry's son.


The German critics rated the movie positively, but indicated it differently. They made a " huge, dark comedy " fixed, the film was " of ravishing humor [ ... ] of a warm sardonic wit ." However, the importance of anecdotes and references is not always evident. Lead actor Michael Stuhlbarg was " wonderful " and " wonderful trauerkloßig ". Cinematographer Deakins create " some in their exact composition and clear beauty hyperreal -looking images ." These are " hard, yet the Light has sometimes something unfathomable dark and frozen, and some settings are reminiscent of the clinically cold Cinema painting of David Lynch. "

Kai looked Mihm of epd film within the film a " reflection on the supposed contradictions and the interpenetration of religious " faith " and rational " knowledge ". " The Coen brothers understand both " as part of a cosmic whole. Larry's oversized, littered with cryptic formulas panel finds a match in the table of the Talmud school of his son, described with hardly less cryptic Hebrew lettering. "History chan gers " between feixender irony and existential search for meaning " stand between " ironic, blasphemous play and spiritual seriousness. "

Several critics understood the director as God his character, as well as Tobias Kniebe in the Süddeutsche Zeitung: "Apart from the undeniably existing omnipotence that they now have more than their films, besides an effortless mastery of the creative craft, which might be called divine, without exaggeration, like them especially the fact that God [ ... ] is his audience not guilty accountable. "Nevertheless, they loved their creation, and every nuance is important to them. The " no-good rabbi " in the film were seeking advice for Larry " about as helpful as a film critic. " The opposite view was from Holger Roman filmdienst. The Coens looked distant and " top-down " on their characters; " In elegant, though never extravagant staging is felt by a supposed affection for the characters a little. "

The mirror - critic Andreas Borcholte discovered a "story about the constant, though futile search of man for the meaning of life and one's own existence." The Coen brothers were " rarely mercilessly " and denied their protagonists normality, after which he longs. " The angry, Old Testament God appears there's more merciful than those operating with cold precision directors. " For Borcholte the work of the " most adult and is abgründigste all Coen films [ ... ] So it is at the end of perhaps the passive persistence and its ultimately not pronounced ownership convincing in search of spiritual salvation, but actually what the so rational physicist Gopnik is punished by its creators: What you least helps in life, so his lesson, is God. "

As the " darkest and most abysmal movie" The brothers also the time reviewer Thomas Assheuer classified a the factory. Larry was different from the biblical figure, "The Job of the Old Testament is still struggling with his God and demands justice; Larry resigned before he rebelled. He's just a modern Job, and he knows that the world is what is the case. For justice is no room. " An invisible veil separating the characters apart, it conquer" blur, uncertainty, social Trance ". But the Coens put the comedy of the " ubiquitous ironic culture" that dissolve anything serious, opposed. This kind comedy was " pathos avoidance, it springs back, it plays with the seriousness that without denying it. " Unlike the Catholic Martin Scorsese in his films the Coens not glorified the suffering of Job - figure. Not to beliefs they were doing, but real history of the 20th century. One must look: " The new vision of the world, it could be the point of the Coens, is the essence of cinema, which is explained by the self to the medium of salvation. "


The tornado at the end of the film refers to an actual event that took place in southern Minnesota in 1967.


Golden Globe Awards 2010

  • Nominated in the category below: Best Actor - Comedy / Musical ( Michael Stuhlbarg )

Oscar 2010

  • Nominated in the categories: Best Picture
  • Best Original Screenplay