Synopsis

Filmmaking duo Joel and Ethan Coen write, produce, and direct this period black comedy set in 1967 concerning a Midwestern physics professor whose staid and stable life slowly begins to unravel after his wife announces that she's leaving him. As if the failure of his longtime marriage wasn't enough for Larry Gopnik (Tony-nominated Michael Stuhlbarg) to contend with, now his socially inept brother refuses to move out of the house as well. Larry is a modest man of science. Up to this point, his life has been uneventful at best, but things are about to get interesting. When his wife, Judith, announces that she is leaving him to move in with his smug colleague Sy Ableman, Larry does his best to contend with his failed marriage while barely tolerating his unemployable brother, Arthur, who appears to have grown roots on Larry's couch. Meanwhile, Larry's son, Danny, is getting into trouble at Hebrew school, and his daughter, Sarah, is stealthily snatching money from his wallet so she can afford a nose job. As Judith and Sy merrily begin making plans for their new life of domestic bliss together, Larry begins receiving a series of anonymous letters from someone who seems intent on sabotaging his chance for tenure at the university. To further complicate matters, a graduate student with failing grades is attempting to bribe the professor while simultaneously threatening him with a defamation lawsuit. Larry is in some serious need of equilibrium, though it's hard to focus on getting your life in order when your beautiful neighbor insists on sunbathing in the nude just outside your window. Perhaps by seeking the advice of three trusted rabbis, Larry can finally learn to cope with his afflictions and become a genuine mensch. A Serious Man is the second in a two-picture deal that the siblings made with Focus Features and Working Title. The first film in the deal, entitled Burn After Reading and starring Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and Frances McDormand, was released nationwide in September 2008. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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