Ordinary People (1980)
Conrad (Timothy Hutton) is a teenage boy trying to life through the guilt of his brother’s death. He constantly blames himself because he was on the boat when his brother drowned and feels that it should have been him dying instead of his brother. His guilt is so bad that he even tried to commit suicide but was unsuccessful. Conrad’s parents (Donald Sutherland and Mary Tyler Moore) are not only trying to grieve over the loss of their eldest son, but to be supportive and helpful for Conrad. Conrad’s father is lost and unsure of what he needs to do mend his broken family while his mother is only concerned with smiling, looking happy and her outward appearance to others while neglecting the true issues of the family.
Ordinary People is the kind of movie that you watch pretty much 1 time, understand its powerful impact in filmmaking and then don’t watch it again. The subject matter and overall tone of the film is depressing and usually never really happy. The relationship Conrad has with his mother is just down right annoying. No one wants to live with a parent like that. Not to mention his father never having a spine to stick up for what is right. Conrad’s shrink (Judd Hirsch) is the only bright/positive spot for me, and I enjoy seeing the teaching he provides Conrad. Ordinary People was Robert Redford’s directorial debut and took home the Oscar for Best Picture in 1980 along with a directorial Oscar for Redford and Best Supporting Actor for Hutton. Mary Tyler Moore and Judd Hirsch were also nominated for their acting. At the end of the day, it’s hard to gauge an overall feel of the film except that it will keep you watching for the story and acting, but will make you feel like you wasted your time when it’s all said and done.
5/10 Stars – I understand its cinematic impact and that it isn’t a horrible film, but when it was all said and done, I wish Robert Redford made happy films.
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