A Serious Man

October 2nd 2009
  • Comedy/Drama,
  • R,
  • 105 min,
  • Focus Features
  • Cast: Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Kind, Fred Melamed, Sari Lennick, Aaron Wolff, Jessica McManus, Peter Breitmayer, Brent Braunschweig, David Kang, Benjy Portnoe, Jon Kaminski Jr., Ari Hoptman, Alan Mandell, Amy Landecker, George Wyner, Michael Tezla, Fyvush Finkel, Raye Birk, Simon Helberg, Adam Arkin, Michael Lerner, Michael Engel, Tyson Bidner, Piper Sigel-Bruse, Warren Keith
  • Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
  • Writers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
  • Producers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
  • Executive Producers: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Robert Graf
  • Art Direction: Deb Jensen
  • Castings: Ellen Chenoweth, Rachel Tenner
  • Costume Design: Mary Zophres
  • D.O.P.: Roger Deakins
  • Editor: Roderick Jaynes
  • Makeup: Jean Ann Black
  • Music: Carter Burwell
  • Production Design: Jess Gonchor
  • Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh


"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 (Michael Stuhlbarg), a physics professor at a quiet Midwestern university, has just been informed by his wife Judith (Sari Lennick) that she is leaving him. She has fallen in love with one of his more pompous colleagues, Sy Ableman (Fred Melamed), who seems to her a more substantial person than the feckless Larry. Larry's unemployable brother Arthur (Richard Kind) is sleeping on the couch, his son Danny (Aaron Wolf) is a discipline problem and a shirker at Hebrew school, and his daughter Sarah (Jessica McManus) is filching money from his wallet in order to save up for a nose job. While his wife and Sy Ableman blithely make new domestic arrangements, and his brother becomes more and more of a burden, an anonymous hostile letter-writer is trying to sabotage Larry's chances for tenure at the university. Also, a graduate student seems to be trying to bribe him for a passing grade while at the same time threatening to sue him for defamation. Plus, the beautiful woman next door torments him by sunbathing nude. 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?

Basic Information

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Filming Locations: Minnesota, USA
  • MPAA Warning: Language, some sexuality/nudity and brief violence
  • Production Budget: $7 million
  • Production Companies: Mike Zoss Productions, Relativity Media, Studio Canal, Working Title Films
  • Production Schedule: 8 September 2008 - 14 November 2008

Featured Articles


Considerable attention was paid to the setting; it was important to the Coens to find a neighborhood of original-looking suburban rambler homes as they would have appeared in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, in the mid-1960s. Locations were scouted in nearby communities Edina, Richfield, Brooklyn Center, and Hopkins before a suitable location was found in Bloomington.

Long time collaborator Roger Deakins rejoined the Coen brothers as cinematographer, following his absence from Burn After Reading. This is the tenth film he has worked on with the Coen brothers.

Costume designer Mary Zophres returns for her ninth collaboration with the brothers.

Trailers & Clips

This film has no associated trailers or clips.

Worldwide Release Dates

  • 9 October 2009: Denmark
  • 23 October 2009: Norway
  • 6 November 2009: Italy
  • 19 November 2009: Australia
  • 20 November 2009: Iceland, Sweden, UK
  • 26 November 2009: Russia
  • 3 December 2009: Argentina
  • 4 December 2009: Finland
  • 20 January 2010: Belgium, France
  • 21 January 2010: Germany, Netherlands