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Serious Man

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Product Overview

A black comedy set in 1967 and centered on larry gopnik, a midwestern professor who watches his life unravel when his wife prepares to leave him because his inept brother won't move out of the house.

Specifications

Studio Universal
SKU 213718960
UPC 025195052740
UPC 14 00025195052740
Format DVD
Release Date 8/28/2011
Rating Rating
Aspect Ratio
Anamorphic Widescreen  1.85:1
Actors
Name Stuhlbarg,Michael
Link Search Link
Awards
Independent Spirit (2010) Joel & Ethan Coen, Nominee, Best Director,Joel & Ethan Coen et, al., Winner, Robert Altman Award,Roger Deakins, Nominee, Best Cinematography
Golden Globe (2010) Michael Stuhlbarg, Nominee, Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Oscar (2010) Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Nominee, Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen,Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Nominee, Best Motion Picture of the Year
Reviews
ReviewSource Chicago Sun-Times
Review We learn from the Book of Job: Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. Such a man is Larry Gopnik. He lectures on physics in front of a blackboard filled with bewildering equations that are mathematical proofs approaching certainty, and in his own life, what can be sure of? Nothing, that's what...His wife is leaving him for his best friend. His son is listening to rock 'n' roll in Hebrew school. His daughter is stealing money for a nose job. His brother-in-law is sleeping on the sofa and lurking in unsavory bars. His gun-nut neighbor frightens him. A student tries to bribe him and blackmail him at the same time. The tenure committee is getting unsigned libelous letters about him. The wife of his other neighbor is sex-crazy. God forbid this man should see a doctor...Beginning with a darkly comic prologue in Yiddish, A Serious Man inhabits a Jewish community where the rational (physics) is rendered irrelevant by the mystical (fate). Gopnik can fill all the blackboards he wants, and it won't do him any good. Maybe because an ancestor invited a dybbuk to cross his threshold, Larry is cursed. A dybbuk is the wandering soul of a dead person. You don't want to make the mistake of inviting one into your home. You don't have to be Jewish to figure that out...Have I mentioned A Serious Man is so rich and funny? This isn't a laugh-laugh movie, but a wince-wince movie. Those can be funny, too. The Coens have found mostly unfamiliar actors, or those like Stuhlbarg, Kind and Melamed you've seen before, but you're not quite sure where. I imagine (but do not know) that Joel and Ethan have been kicking this story around for years, passing time by reminding each other of possible characters, seeing an actor and observing, "There's our Mrs. Samsky." Their actors weren't cast, they were preordained...There is a story told in A Serious Man that may seem out of place. I believe it acts as a parable reflecting the film, Gopnik's life, and indeed the Book of Job. It's the one about the Jewish dentist who discovers the words "help me" naturally occurring in Hebrew on the back of a gentile's lower front teeth. Remember that many parables contain their message in their last lines.
ReviewDate
ReviewPage
Reviewer Roger Ebert
ReviewRating 10
ReviewSource Los Angeles Times
Review "If not now, when?" the Jewish sage Hillel famously asked, and with A Serious Man the Coen brothers have answered...Writer-directors Joel and Ethan have seized the opportunity afforded by the Oscar-winning success of No Country for Old Men, to make their most personal, most intensely Jewish film, a pitch-perfect comedy of despair that, against some odds, turns out to be one of their most universal as well...Set in a very specific time and place -- the Jewish community in suburban Minneapolis circa 1967 -- that closely echoes the Coens' own background, A Serious Man is a memory piece re-imagined through the darkest possible lens...Yet the more the man of the title suffers the torments of Job, the more he tries to deal with the unknowability of the usual willfully absurd and decidedly hostile Coen universe, the more we're encouraged to wonder if this isn't just the tiniest bit funny. And the more real the pain becomes, the more, in a quintessentially Jewish way, laughter becomes our only serious option...The serious man in question is Larry Gopnik (Tony-nominated actor Michael Stuhlbarg), a university professor who's up for tenure in physics. Married with two children and the standard suburban house, he's always tried to live up to expectations, tried to be the best person he can, so he's totally unprepared when every aspect of his life begins to collapse in a slow-motion riot...On the one hand, "A Serious Man" is rife with specific Jewish references, like the great cantor Yossele Rosenblatt. It starts with a quote from Rashi and a Yiddish-language parable set in Eastern Europe starring the veteran Fyvush Finkel as someone who may or may not be a dybbuk and ends with the classic credit line, "No Jews were harmed in the making of this motion picture."...Yet it's impossible to watch Larry Gopnik's travails without feeling that they will speak to everyone who's been battered and blindsided by life's tormenting crises and wonders why. By being so site-specific, the Coens have broadened their reach and expanded their touch..."I've tried to be a serious man. I've tried to do right," Gopnik laments more than once. Haven't we all, this unexpected film, at once comic and haunting, asks. Haven't we all?
ReviewDate
ReviewPage
Reviewer Kenneth Turan
ReviewRating 10
Features
DVD, Widescreen, English, Spanish, French, Dolby, Dolby Digital (5.1)
Product Attributes
Video Format DVD
Quotes
Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York See this film immediately.
Lou Lumenick, New York Post May not have the starry casts of the Coens' more recent films, but it has plenty of heart and soul.
Ty Burr, Boston Globe It's a work of cruel comic genius, in some ways even crueler than "No Country for Old Men.'

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