It’s 1967 in Minnesota, and life is getting more and more difficult for physics professor Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg). Despite his best efforts to be a good man, a respected member of his Jewish community, a bona fide mensch, the structure of his life is collapsing like the walls of Jericho.
Larry’s son, Danny (Aaron Wolff), is a Hebrew school screwup with a strong taste for pot. His daughter, Sarah (Jessica McManus), is looking to escape her heritage by getting a nose job. His brother, Arthur (Richard Kind), a once brilliant mathematician, is slowly going mad. He sleeps on Larry’s couch and monopolizes the lone bathroom to drain the pus from his infected boils. And Larry’s goyish next-door neighbor, a right-wing deer hunter, is looking to build a cleaning shed for animal carcasses on Larry’s land.