A Serious Man (DVD)

You cannot be serious…

It’s the late 1960s in the midwest USA, and Larry Gonik (Michael Stuhlbarg) is a normal Jewish man, trying to raise his family as best he can. His life is by no means easy – his troubled brother Arthur (Richard Kind) is sleeping on the couch, his doctor wants to talk to him about some test results and his kids are driving him crazy – but Larry is happy enough. Happy, that is, until his wife Judith (Sari Lennick) announces she is leaving him for the overbearingly pompous Sy Ableman (Fred Melamed). As Larry attempts to seek answers from three different rabbis, he begins to wonder what it’s going to take to keep the faith.

Nominated for multiple Oscars, the Coen Brothers’ latest is certainly their most personal – they take their influences from their own childhood – and it’s also up there with their best. Although it may be small in scale, from the cast of unknowns to the claustrophobic suburban locale, it’s big in terms of script, performance and impact. Much of that lies with the character of Larry who, as expertly portrayed by the magnificent Stuhlbarg, makes having the rug pulled out from under him a funny yet deeply moving ballet of comedy and angst. 5 stars

Extra Features
There’s a making of, plus a short featurette on the production design plus a guide to Hebrew and Yiddish. The lack of commentary is a real shame. 2 stars

Stars Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Kind, Sari Lennick
Directors Ethan Coen and Joel Coen
Format DVD & Blu-ray
Distributor Working Title
Released March 15

This DVD review was originally published in movieScope Issue #16, out now!