Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 253 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: A Serious Man is the story of an ordinary man’s search for clarity in a universe where Jefferson Airplane is on the radio and F-Troop is on TV. It is 1967, and Larry Gopnik, a physics professor at a quiet Midwestern university, has just been informed by his wife Judith that she is leavingA Serious Man is the story of an ordinary man’s search for clarity in a universe where Jefferson Airplane is on the radio and F-Troop is on TV. It is 1967, and Larry Gopnik, a physics professor at a quiet Midwestern university, has just been informed by his wife Judith that she is leaving him. She has fallen in love with one of his more pompous acquaintances, Sy Ableman, who seems to her a more substantial person than the feckless Larry. Larry’s unemployable brother Arthur is sleeping on the couch, his son Danny is a discipline problem and a shirker at Hebrew school, and his daughter Sarah is filching money from his wallet in order to save up for a nose job. Struggling for equilibrium, Larry seeks advice from three different rabbis. Can anyone help him cope with his afflictions and become a righteous person – a mensch – a serious man? (Focus Features) Expand
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 35
  2. Negative: 3 out of 35
  1. 100
    That song (Jefferson Airplane's Somebody to Love), which becomes a sort of mantra to the movie, is the key to understanding what the Coens are after: When the truth is found to be lies, and all the joy within you dies, you better find somebody to love.
  2. A tart, brilliantly acted fable of life’s little cosmic difficulties, a Coen brothers comedy with a darker philosophical outlook than “No Country for Old Men” but with a script rich in verbal wit.
  3. 100
    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.
  4. 88
    The presence of so many low-key performers gives A Serious Man a very different, distinctly non-Hollywood vibe. The absence of familiar faces allows the Coens to fully immerse their audience in the time (1967) and place (the U.S. Midwest) of the story.
  5. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    80
    To absorb God's body blows, this disquieting, haunting movie says, is to be fully alive. To do otherwise could kill you.
  6. A seriously black comedy. Black, because affliction and angst abound. Comic, because this rampant bleakness is presented as nothing more than an amusing bauble.
  7. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    30
    As usual, though, the Coens have more venal satisfactions in mind. "The fun of the story for us," they crow in the notes for this loathsome movie, "was inventing new ways to torture Larry."

See all 35 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 56 out of 103
  2. Negative: 32 out of 103
  1. CP
    Oct 28, 2009
    10
    I liked this better than all of the other Coen brothers' films. Dark, brilliant. (And I'm a goy).
  2. KenS
    Nov 15, 2009
    10
    For some reason, it bothers me that all the reviews say 1967 when the movie is set in 1970 or 71.
  3. ArthurF
    Mar 29, 2010
    10
    A movie with humor and pathos, funny lines and ultimately no conclusion. That's life. There are no definitive answers. The film has a A movie with humor and pathos, funny lines and ultimately no conclusion. That's life. There are no definitive answers. The film has a bleak side, which predominates - there are no answers - and a hilarious side, with some good laughs. Expand
  4. SS
    Oct 12, 2009
    8
    Very entertaining for people familiar with jewish culture. Non-jews will not get much of the humor. Probably not for middle america
  5. DianaK.
    Oct 2, 2009
    5
    Life is hell and then you die. Job in a Jewish Minneapolis suburb. The ([professional) audience with whom I saw this well-made but willfully Life is hell and then you die. Job in a Jewish Minneapolis suburb. The ([professional) audience with whom I saw this well-made but willfully nihilistic movie sat in stunned silence when it "ended." Then they slunk out of the theater and went in search of strong spirits. Expand
  6. Oct 31, 2010
    3
    The only time I was laughing when thinking about this movie, was thinking of how my wallet looked emptier than it deserved to be. I found theThe only time I was laughing when thinking about this movie, was thinking of how my wallet looked emptier than it deserved to be. I found the movie boring and hardly humorous at all, it was dull and just ended? Some people say that's life... that's why it ended that way, well that not why I or anyone should go watch movie, it was unilluminating, can't believe the misleading score Expand
  7. ReidF
    Oct 10, 2009
    0
    Snide, obnoxious, vapid people doing awful things to each other, this movie is total garbage.

See all 103 User Reviews

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