Ordinary People 1980 (1980) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: The accidental death of the older son of an affluent family deeply strains the relationships among the bitter mother, the good-natured father, and the guilt-ridden younger son. Runtime: 124 mins Release Date: 19 Sep 1980
I was 16 years old in 1984 when I first saw this movie. I was also clinically depressed and suicidal. I had been on antidepressants for about a year in the pre-prozac days and I happened to see this movie on Showtime or HBO - almost by accident. Timothy Hutton perfectly captures what it's like to be depressed as a teenager. And Judd Hirsch and Hutton perfectly capture the patient/therapist relationship. There are also a few perfect little scenes that capture the problems of a family that can't communicate. Especially memorable is the scene where Calvin tells Beth about the shoes he <more>
wore to Buck's funeral. This film captures all of the important moments like this that truly demonstrate the problems the family is having. After seeing it, I read the book and I knew that if Conrad could go on, so could I. I watch this movie once every few years. It really means a lot to me.
Ordinary is the Problem!!!!! (by dataconflossmoor)
The setting for this movie is seemingly appropriate for characterizing frustrations...The North Shore!!...Chicago's sequestered citadel of professional and avaricious elitism...A three million dollar home, trips to Europe, your kids going off to the most expensive colleges in the country, remodeling your kitchen every couple of years, and, your work-less, socially active wife being a permanent fixture at Marshall Fields!! All of these trademarks of success are taken for granted, and, they are merely expectations for the ultimate definition of a quiet bedroom community!! Acquisition of <more>
status is no longer excitement, it is, in fact, a given...The only devastating misconception to this entire scenario is that people living in the North Shore are not superhuman, they are merely overburdened, socially, financially, physically, mentally and, as this film so brilliantly depicts, EMOTIONALLY!! There is a prevailing mentality of a mandated and bothersome agenda that all of the characters in this movie must adhere to!!...The Jarretts Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore and Timothy Hutton are a family who are shattered by perpetual tragedy and isolation, each one of them does not know what to do about the fact that the other son, Buck, has died, and Conrad Timothy Hutton has attempted to commit suicide!! So much of this film deals with how the misunderstanding of each other is the monster that will win out!!.. Perseverence is something that the mother thinks she can handle, but, in fact, she cannot!! The son, Conrad, lacks the necessary social stamina for the incredibly tedious task of sustaining! Finally, the father needs a bevy of facts to gather up in order for him to attain a pleasant resolve by which everyone in his family may live by!!.. This catastrophic dilemma is answered with social gatherings, vacations, an inordinate preoccupation with moral facades, and expensive therapy!! The bottom line is that a tragic undermining to every critical situation in this movie continuously prevails! Ultimately, this troublesome circumstance is such whereby Conrad and his parents need more time than this movie allows to heel all wounds even on a superficial level...Director, Robert Redford, has an incredible insight in this movie, and many white collar executive households share the exacerbations and misgivings of financial competition that this Lake Forest household had to endure!!..."Ordinary People" won for best picture in 1980, and, it is no wonder...The despondence the Jarretts faced was a horror story that could teach Stephen King a couple of tricks... The Mother feels as though she must create an illusion of contentment to the outside world, even if it is at the risk of neglecting her family's needs...Masquerading pretenses seems to have become her self-centered pet project...The father, while well intentioned, is meager and adolescent in his approach to coping with the household's turbulent consternation..It is almost as if he expects a resolution to his family's problems to be put in his stocking on Christmas morning...The son, Conrad, just resigns himself to misery and arctic desolation!! The overall predicament in this film has a frightening simplicity... The Jarret's aggregate plight is that they are alone, unhappy and confused!! Judd Hirsch is terrific as the shrink who feels sorry for this high school kid Conrad . Conrad Jarrett is compelled to have therapy sessions with him, Judd Hirsch . As a psychiatrist, he knows that he has to go through professionally therapeutic procedures to actually help him out...The greatest help he can offer Conrad is that he must convey to him that his problems can only be solved one step at a time. This psychiatrist Judd Hirsch cannot simply utter some miracle mumble jumble like Conrad's father expects him to do!! "Ordinary People" is about ordinary, well to do, upper middle class people, these are people who constantly admonish themselves for making mistakes!! They perennially imitate wealthy people, which means they are continuously fighting a losing battle! Genuine problems such as a son attempting suicide have to take a back seat to endeavors which are along the line of status games and pusillanimous charades of compulsory escalation into the realm of social register advancement!!.. Just another $250,000.00 yearly income household...ho hum!!...What is bothering you? "Everything!!" "Did we say that"..."We mean to say that nothing at all is bothering us"....The purpose of a two acre piece of property is not to be a voice in the wilderness.. Apocalyptic human pitfalls rest on apathetic shaky grounds in Chicago's North Shore Suburbia, and, they are indiscriminately shelved off into a dubious haven of callous anonymity!! Calvin Jarrett is plagued by the shattering realization of just how pitiful it is to have to attend your own son's funeral!! Tragedy fights dirty pool when it will not even allow the Jarretts to know exactly what the unanswered questions are in their dreadfully befuddled lives!! This situational dilemma manifests itself by pointing out several acrimonious facts: People who seem alright may not be. Household upheaval and family hardships will go quite awhile before they are even mollified. Also, the beautiful cinematography of the deciduous Lake Forrest autumn erupts as a polar opposite to what emotional ugliness lurks in the Jarrett's domicile!! This movie concludes at a glimmer of hope for Conrad, which symbolizes a demoralizing, and almost hopelessly rudimentary progress for the entire Jarrett Family, YES!! this is very, very, very, DEPRESSING!!! Unfortunately, this situation is extremely realistic! "Ordinary People" is an outstanding movie for a variety of reasons.. Mostly for the fact that it illustrates how clinical depression cannot be instantly cured just because there are only 18 minutes left to the movie!! I give it five stars out of five stars!!!
The perfect life of the perfect family is destroyed when the older of 2 sons dies in a sailing accident, leaving the parents and his younger brother to grieve, pick up and carry on. But how they accomplish this makes this movie a shattering but ultimately uplifting in parts experience.Buck Jarrett drowns after he and his younger brother, Conrad, go sailing on a questionable day. Later, Conrad, feeling the guilt of his brother's death, tries to commit suicide by slashing his wrists. This turns out to be a blessing in disguise because the true personalities of his parents, Cal and Beth, <more>
as well as his own ability to grow are revealed when Conrad returns from the psychiatric hospital after a 4-month stay. Conrad is given the name of Dr. Tyrone Berger, a psychiatrist marvelously played by Judd Hirsch who is unconventional to say the least. He dresses casually, drinks coffee he makes in his office and smokes incessantly this is pre anti-tobacco . And he doesn't buy into the psychobabble practiced by many psychiatrists. At first, Conrad tells Dr. Berger he wants to gain control but what he really wants is to not feel - not feel the pain of his brother's death and what he believes is his part in it. But that unravels through a series of experiences he endures as the movie proceeds. In choir practice, Conrad is smitten with Jeannine Pratt beautifully played by Elizabeth McGovern , a fellow singer who has an ability to recognize Conrad's pain without being amazed, horrified or judgmental. And Conrad also has a friend, Karen, played nicely by Dinah Manoff whom he'd met in the hospital and who can relate to his experiences there. Donald Sutherland as Cal, Mary Tyler Moore as Beth and Timothy Hutton as Conrad give outstanding, Oscar-caliber performances. Cal tries to keep his feelings hidden by wearing a mask of bravado, carrying on and functioning in a world that has taken his son away. He loves Conrad and also recognizes his pain and his alienation fom his mother though he realizes he can't "fix it." But it's Mary Tyler Moore's performance as Beth that is so amazing. She is plastic through and through and it gets to the point of being downright annoying and yet MTM's portrayal is perfect. Of all the characters, hers is really the most disturbed. She wants to have things exactly as they were even though she mourns the loss of her firstborn son. She can't love Conrad because he committed the one unforgivable sin - he survived while her favorite did not. Timothy Hutton, sadly, has never had a movie to top "Ordinary People." He has done other work, of course, most notably in my opinion, "Taps" and can be seen currently as Archie in "Nero Wolf" on A&E. But his role as the troubled surviving son who rises from the pain in "Ordinary People" is truly magnificent and shattering. He earned the Oscar and he truly deserved it. And as he accepted his Academy Award, he remembered his father, actor Jim Hutton, who had died from liver cancer shortly before Timothy got the award. That was a classy thing to do. I hope Mr. Hutton gets another plum role like this one; everything else he has done since pales in comparison.
Stunning insight into a family falling apart. (by Wardman3)
"Ordinary People" deserved its Oscar. There was such fierce competition in 1980 that winning the award was a real honor. The movie should have shared honors with "Coal Miner's Daughter".Having said that, the reality of the movie is so heartbreaking and so real that you feel every emotion and understand the characters feelings, whether you liked them or not. Mary Tyler Moore's performance of Beth Jarrett is so powerful that you forget Moore's comedic repertoire and immerse yourself into her persona as a cold, distant wife that can not show emotion for her son. <more>
It is disturbing that Beth can not show Conrad love and it breaks your heart when you see the awkwardness as he tries so hard to get any love or recognition from her. Her breakdown scene at the golf course and the realization at the end of the movie that she is incapable of affectionate love are powerful performances.Donald Sutherland's understated and beautiful performance is brilliant. His making up for Beth's shortcomings as an affectionate human being are so touching. He does all he can to keep the rest of his family together. Why he was not nominated for an Oscar is beyond comprehension.Timothy Hutton absolutely shines as the troubled Conrad. All you want to do is hug him, love him, after his rejections from his own mother. The torture and pain he is in is portrayed so stunningly. His guilt over the death of his brother and subsequent depression are heartbreaking.Growing up in suburban America, the film rings many a truth to the insights of what people perceive as a "normal family". The cocktail parties, the school activities, the socialization of Beth and her friends over the recognition of her son do happen in suburban America. Robert Redford recognized every real detail of the facades that people put up and the reality of what happens at home. They are poignantly and chillingly realized.Definitely one of the most deserved Best Picture Oscars given. Please don't miss this one.
Their world is truly a perfect place; with its groomed lawns and freshly painted homes, and even the people are polite, proper, and happy with life- or so we are led to believe. Robert Redford brings us this perfect world with its perfect people only to show us the imperfections that are so well hidden and are never supposed to be seen. Ordinary People is the story of a families struggle to accept the death of a son and its consequences on all who are left. The main character that is highlighted in the story is the younger son Conrad. Having recently returning home from a mental hospital <more>
after an attempted suicide, he is the primary victim of this tragedy. He was on the boat when his brother "Buck" drowned, and he blames himself for his death. The parents are almost polar opposites. The father is desperately trying to keep the family together and to understand what is happening, while the mother is seen to ignore everything and continue to uphold all the pretense that is her life. Also featured in this film is Conrad's psychiatrist Dr. Burger who serves as a means of telling the background story as well as to help the family in realizing their true situation. I first saw this film twenty years ago as part of a high school field trip. The theater was filled with high school seniors and we wondered who thought up the bright idea of seeing this "Boring" film. This thought went on for about the first ten minuets then we were all engrossed in it. I distinctly remember the gasp of the audience when Conrad receiver the news of his friends suicide over the phone. That gasp was missing in this viewing of the film. I can only attribute it to the age of the audience. The odd thing about seeing this movie after so many years was that the first time I saw it I was seeing it from the son Conrad's eyes. This time I looked at the story and felt more for the father. I suppose age can change a perspective that one views a story from. The gasp was voiced from a room full of Conrad's twenty years ago where this time we were a room full of parents sympathizing with his plight. The ability of a director in being able to tailor a film to his audience, even years later, is a noteworthy achievement. Ordinary People was and still is a great film.
Brilliant, perceptive, unforgiving, warm. A special film that still holds up beautifully. (by secondtake)
Ordinary People 1980 I managed to go forty years without seeing this movie, and not because I was avoiding it. Now, as someone older than the protagonists, and as someone who grew up in that era of orange napkins and beige refrigerators, I'm very moved and astonished by it all. The writing is extremely subtle for a script filled with excessive situations. And the acting, especially by the main three people in the remainders of the central family, is really a marvel. Donald Sutherland is the father and his delicate handling of a man who is plumbing some difficult emotions is profound. He <more>
has to handle a wife who is crippled emotionally and a son who is just bursting out of a deep withdrawal. Timothy Hutton as the son is remarkable complex, and is a parallel in a way to Dustin Hoffman playing a dysfunctional kid in a dysfunctional family in "The Graduate." Mary Tyler Moore is the mother and is sharp, cool, yet likable, belying a deep emotional void. She is especially chilling and revealing because her public persona through television was as a really well-balanced, successful, single woman in a fast changing America.This isn't a happy movie at all, as you can tell, and yet it's a joy to watch. Not only is it finely made top to bottom, with wonderfully felt direction from Robert Redford himself, like Moore, at the top of his acting career , it is weirdly warm, too. You like these flawed people most of them and you really want a beautiful resolution, as unlikely as it is. There might be some artifice to the flashbacks of the boat disaster, but maybe we can forgive that as the simplification of memory. Otherwise the sets and air and pace are spot on.It's nice to note there is no Hollywood ending here, not really, and that's a relief, too. A wonderful film with very few weaknesses. It's held up and still feels pertinent and honest even over thirty years later.
Powerful and Heartbreaking Drama (by claudio_carvalho)
In Illinois, the upper-middle-class family Jarrett is living a trauma in their lives, with the loss of their beloved son Buck followed by the attempt of suicide of his younger brother Conrad Timothy Hutton . Conrad's father Calvin Donald Sutherland is a good man of few words and his mother Beth Mary Tyler Moore is a cold-hearted woman that loved Buck and has always been bitter and never supported Conrad, who is under therapy with Dr. Berger Judd Hirsch . The greatest concern of Beth is to live her perfect life, denying affection to her son. Conrad blames himself for the death of his <more>
brother since they were sailing in a bad weather and when one string jammed in the block, he was not able to release it, capsizing the boat. Conrad has difficulties to reestablish his relationship with his friend and quits the swimming team of his school.When Conrad meets Karen Dinah Manoff , who was interned with him in the same psychiatric clinic also for attempt suicide, he feels better. And when he dates the gorgeous student from the choir Jeannine Elizabeth McGovern , he begins to see the world with other eyes. But his problem of relationship with his mother associated to the death of Karen, who committed suicide, brings him back to the rock bottom and he runs to meet Dr. Berger. Will the psychiatrist succeed in helping Conrad? "Ordinary People" is a powerful and heartbreaking drama, one of the best American dramas from the 80's. This film is also a milestone in the career of Robert Redford since it is his directorial debut. "Ordinary People" has top-notch direction and performances; the screenplay is very well-written with powerful lines. The timeless story is well-resolved with the realistic decision of the shattered Jarrett family. My vote is eight.Title Brazil : "Gente Como a Gente" "People Like Us"
compelling performance of compelling character (by SnoopyStyle)
The Jarretts are a well-off family in suburban Chicago. Only son Conrad Timothy Hutton is struggling and sees psychiatrist Dr. Berger Judd Hirsch . His older brother Buck died in a sailing accident. His parents Calvin Donald Sutherland and Beth Mary Tyler Moore don't talk about it or anything of deep substance. Conrad starts dating fellow student Jeannine Pratt Elizabeth McGovern and quits competitive swimming.Timothy Hutton delivers a compelling performance for his demanding character. This is all about the secret and the rolling revelation. Unlike other movies, it isn't too <more>
cute with it. It's hidden for a reason. It fits the characters. They can hardly say his name out loud. It's a bit slow in the first half but it's never boring. As Conrad breaks down, the movie goes to another level. It's a skilled debut for Robert Redford as the director.
An Enormous Skeleton in the Family Closet (by AZINDN)
Ordinary People is the story of a family struggling to right itself after an enormous tragedy, the death of the eldest son, Buck. Drown in a boating accident, the fair-haired boy of the town was expected to be the most successful ever, especially to his parents Mary Tyler Moore, Donald Sutherland , and most obvious, to his younger brother, Conrad Timothy Hutton . Buck died, Conrad lived, and the guilt of having survived eats at Conrad to the point of attempted suicide and hospitalization. For his mother, Beth however, the loss of her favorite son is more than she will tolerate. Beth is from <more>
good strong stock, stiff upper lip, and don't let the neighbors know what is going on within the family. She is cold, withdrawn from her surviving son, and unwilling to recognize Conrad's suffering. To comfort her son would mean she condones his survival, and it would be the ultimate betrayal of Buck, the good son.Robert Redford in his directorial debut paints a bittersweet portrait of such ordinariness as the norm, it is a slice of the era before the self-indulgent me generation. Normalcy in the affluent middle class mid-western family does not include psychiatry, a situation Beth wants hidden from their friends. Beth grasps at the belief that what is not discussed in the open will go away, including Conrad. Moore as the flawed Beth gives a master performance by an actress known for her comedic talents in the role of a repressed, bitter, and prejudiced woman. She is devastating in a portrayal of a self-absorbed, controlling, emotionless wife but not a sympathetic mother. Timothy Hutton as Conrad is a wounded puppy, floundering for attention and affection from his rebuking, accusatory mother and weak father. It is a heartbreaking performance that is all raw emotional subtlety to view. Donald Sutherland is the kindly father trying to salve over the open gap that the death of his son has left in their family, yet overlooking the ultimate wound that keeps reopening as his surviving son is rejected by his mother again and again as he remains silent.So much dysfunctional emotions are analyzed by Judd Hirsh as Contrad's psychiatrist trying to jolt his patient from his depressed state and self loathing for all that is not perfect in his family's personalities. In the end, Ordinary People leaves the audience as it began, leaving somethings known, yet ultimately, ambiguous for any true resolution to life.