“Receive with simplicity everything that happens to you.” For the new film – or rather for its protagonist – the Coen brothers could not have chosen a more apt quotation than this bit of wisdom from medieval French rabbi Rashi. That’s because Larry Gopnik, a physics professor at a Midwestern university, finds himself in a Job-like situation – fate’s blows mount up for no apparent reason and his once safe little world begins to fall apart. Why, God? Larry isn’t the first or the last to ask heaven a similar question, but neither God nor the Coen brothers respond. Set in the familiar world and time of their childhood, A Serious Man appears to be the sibling duo’s most personal picture to date. The academic environment of 1960s Minneapolis and the local Jewish community are the venues for “a tale of woe [...] that keeps you wondering if the punch line, when it comes, will make you laugh or want to kill yourself, or both.” (David Edelstein).