This Movie Is Not Ordinary
Dealing with the death of a teenage son would never be easy, but in "Ordinary People", Robert Redford makes his Academy Award directorial debut and attempts to deal with it. Ironically, he takes super-sweet, all American Mary Tyler Moore and turns her into a subtly, grief stricken mother Beth, whom we see as all right until the movie unravels her as a bitch--with no affection for her remaining son Conrad (Timothy Hutton) and little affection for her husband Cal (Donald Sutherland).
The movie belongs to Timothy Hutton, who won Best Supporting Actor that year and probably should have been nominated as Best Actor since more footage in the movie belongs to him than to anyone else. Conrad survived the boating accident but can barely survive the outcome. He attempts suicide because he is so grief stricken and depressed. Further complications are another suicide by a friend and only criticism from his mother. As the movie unravels, our hearts go out to this kid--especially as we see the boating accident and how his brother Buck died.
Donald Sutherland plays the most sensitive person in the family but he is clueless for a long time as to his wife's feelings. This movie was made in 1980, but it was a forerunner to "Kramer vs Kramer," where the father steps up to the plate and tries to bring stability to his kid's life when his whole world collapses. Cal (Mr. Sutherland) even has the wisdom to seek psychiatric help himself to figure out what to do.
Mary Tyler Moore was nominated for Best Actress but lost to Sissy Spacek in "Coal Miner's Daughter." This movie showed that she certainly has dramatic acting skills. She had us all convinced for a long time during the movie that she was not the mental case. An especially poignant turning point is when Conrad comes downstairs to welcome his parents home from a trip, gives his mother a very nice hug, and she just freezes without emotion. This was a great performance for her.
Finally, Judd Hirsh, in a switched role from his Taxi driver role in the TV show of that name, plays Dr. Berger, Conrad's very astute psychiatrist. He was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor. He is the catalyst that brings out the truth and we get to see a resolution of the conflict in Conrad as we see the boating accident and how Dr. Berger consoles him and rectifies the situation.
If you like psychological movies where each character has been developed fully with all their flaws for us to see, you will like "Ordinary People." Otherwise, you will not like it.
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Compelling & Enlightening
Award-winning film adaptation of Judith Guest's novel, Ordinary People portrays a middle-class family as they struggle to cope with the accidental drowning of the eldest son. The father (Donald Sutherland) feels helpless in trying to reunite the family in its time of need, while the mother (Mary Tyler Moore) avoids any discussion of the tragedy and denies the difficulties in coping with grief. The younger brother, Conrad (Timothy Hutton), is conflicted by anger and guilt as he survived the boating accident while his older brother did not. After a failed suicide attempt, with no one to open up to, Conrad seeks therapy and confides his true feelings to a psychiatrist (Judd Hirsch). Ordinary People is compelling and shines a light on the truth behind the hardships in dealing with grief and depression.
A beautiful movie that stands the test of time
When you watch this movie you can understand why it was nominated for and won the awards it did. It is simply an excellent movie about a family that is disintegrating from grief and other issues. There is not a bad performance in the entire movie from Mary Tyler Moore as the emotionally distant mother to Timothy Hutton's Academy Award winning role of the son. This is a tragic and beautiful movie and it stands the test of time.
A serious and moving movie that is sure to leave a lasting impression on anyone.The devastating effects of depression,and its aftermath, can only lead you to one conclusion, and I will leave this for you to decide.
Brilliant performances by Mary Tyler Moore,Donald Sutherland,judd Hirsch,and Timothy Hutton.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Engrossing tale of the daily life of a family, magnificently played by
Mary Tyler Moore, Donald Sutherland, and Timothy Hutton. Anyone
interested in family drama will find this movie well worth seeing.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.