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Ordinary People

Ordinary People(1980)

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  • Ordinary and not-so-ordinary People

    • Anthony C Villegas
    • 6/1/18

    When this movie was in theaters, my best friend had gone to see it. When I mentioned the movie he spouted his great dissatisfaction with it. He said it was slow and boring and he didn't care about any of the characters and wasn't moved at all! I was flabbergasted. I had heard much about this movie and looked forward to seeing it. When I finally did see it I was amazed! My opinion was every bit the opposite of my friend's. I thought it was a searing depiction of how a family disintegrated because a mother directed all her love to one member of the family. Conrad's survivor's guilt and the cold and distant attitude of his mother, which hid a seething hurt, rage and disappointment at the death of her favorite leads Conrad to a psychiatrist/therapist. How my friend couldn't perceive the emotional turmoil in the family which takes its toll on the remaining members and leads to the ultimate fracturing of that family is beyond me. I think Mary Tyler Moore's performance was stellar. I believe it to be her finest role. Timothy Hutton was astounding as the surviving son. I think both these actors were awarded the kudos they truly deserved. Donald Sutherland was effective as the father who plays conciliator only to face up to his failure and accept that the family will never be the same again. I say 'ordinary' people in that this could happen to any family (one of which I am aware) and not so ordinary in that the economic status of the family was upper class and not ordinary. From the time I saw this movie it became a personal favorite and one I can watch repeatedly. I was amazed, also, by Robert Redford's direction and agree with the acclaim he earned.

  • Extraordinary Performances Make This Unforgettable

    • Tawny
    • 2/20/17

    It is sometimes said that parents play favorites or have a favorite child. In this film, there is no doubt that the mother (Mary Tyler Moore) favors her son Buck--the trophy winner, the brilliant smile, the perfect child. When the perfect family is blown up after Buck's accidental death in a boating accident, the surviving son (Timothy Hutton) is left to pick up the pieces. And he can't do it. His brother's death sends him into a major depression that results in attempted suicide. Now his mother is not only bereaved, but embarrassed. One son is dead. The other is a nut case. Watch Mary Tyler Moore give the performance of her life as the jagged, mean mother who refuses to face her own demons and shortcomings that cause others pain. Watch Timothy Hutton give the performance of his life as a teenager treading water in a world in which he can't measure up--to Buck, to his mother, to the expectation to be "normal." Donald Sutherland gives a strong performance as the husband/father who eventually figures out that his perfect wife is less than perfect and that he has been living a lie. MTM was nominated for Best Actress, but didn't win. Hutton was nominated for Best Supporting Actor and won.

  • Ordinary People

    • Michael Whitty
    • 8/8/16

    One of the best psychological dramas as it acts as a "personal" film which Europeans normally make more than Hollywood does "Ordinary People" shows a family getting a little worse from tensions brought on in a family where the high school boy needs meetings with a psychologist. Mary Tyler Moore was nominated for "Best Actress" and Timothy Hutton won the Oscar for his supporting work. Dear old dad Donald Sutherland doesn't know what to make of this situation as his family starts to crumble. Director Robert Redford won an Oscar in his first directed movie getting into the heads of everyone as mom and dad split apart at the end.

  • ordinary people

    • kevin sellers
    • 1/31/15

    Pretty good dysfunctional family movie, brought down a bit by the "Let's pile on mom" approach to the material by screenwriter Alvin Sergeant and director Robert Redford. I mean, it gets almost comical how the cold mother (Mary Tyler Moore in one of the great against type pieces of casting) is at the root of all the Jarret family's problems. When she finally clears out at the end of the film and the father and son are together in the backyard you can almost feel the "whoosh" of the dual sighs of relief. If only family conflict were that easy to solve! That the passivity of the father, Calvin, could even conceivably be considered a threat to the family as serious as the mother, Beth's, withholding of affection is not even hinted at. However, this anti mom (and, yes, anti woman) stuff aside, the movie does contain some powerful scenes of a family disintegrating, and considering that it was his first film as a director Redford does a fine job. Give it a B.

  • Ordinary People

    • Erik Wagner
    • 1/6/12

    Mary Tyler Moore ain't the girl next door anymore. This is one of the best examples of what's not said is really the heart of the film. One of my all-time favorites. I'll certainly put it in my top 10!

  • Ordinary People Wear the Mask

    • Sue McDonald
    • 12/27/10

    Yes, this is one of the best, most effective, movies of all time. To put it in the top 10 is a stretch, but only because we're talking hundreds of thousands of movies "ever" (more than 100 years). One reviewer comments that these people are far from ordinary, but I wonder. I came from a loving, mostly functional family, but in some ways I can still relate to these characters. The actors' portrayal of pain denied is poignant and painful. Death could never be easy to deal with, but I think modern America, with its determination to be positive and busy no matter what, is as a whole inept at facing death and acknowledging grief. "We wear the mask that grins and lies, It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes; This debt we pay to human guile; With torn and bleeding hearts we smile, And mouth with myriad subtleties." --by Paul Laurence Dunbar

  • A Landmark Film

    • Michael Lindsey
    • 12/24/10

    I believe this one of the ten best films of all time. Director Robert Redford skillfully brings to life what became known as the "dysfunctional family". The "golden boy" son of an affluent family dies in boating accident, and the only surviving son, Conrad, must bear the hurt, resentment and retributions of his grieving mother, Beth. The mother is played with all the coldness and withdrawn grief by Mary Tyler Moore, who gives a sterling performance. As the father (Donald Sutherland) struggles to keep the family from completely falling apart, Conrad seeks the help of a psychiatrist (Judd Hirsch). It is through the sessions with the psychiatrist that Conrad is able to save himself, but not his family.When I originally saw this in a movie theater, I was completely blown away by Moore's performance. I remained sitting in the theater for about fifteen minutes trying to explain to myself what I had just seen. The only criticism I have with the film is that Redford could have possibly found some more well-known supporting characters.

  • Not so ordinary

    • Jow Blow
    • 5/7/10

    Great movie. Amazing to see how selfish MTM becomes after the death of her favorite son during the two boys boating accident. After the older sons death, who was her favorite, the younger son struggles with survivors guilt and tries to kill himself. MTM goes into a shell and cares more about appearences than nurturing her son and husband. That's all she cares about is her golf game, getting away on vacation and making sure No one knows the "horrible" secret her son is seeing a psychiatrist!Ordinary People is certainly a misnomer because these people are extraoridnarily wealthy! Vacation at the drop of a hat? Sure no problem. See a psychiatrist? Sure money is no object. These people live in the extreme Chicago suburbs on Lake whatever it appears in a nice mansion. Calvin the Father turns out to be the true nurturer and helps Conrad thru his struggles and suicide attempt. MTM withdraws into her wealthy trappings and shell. Calvin realizes that he is on his own with trying to pull his son back from the brink and he will get no support from his wife and finally decides he must move on without her.

  • Excellent film

    • Herbert Stanley
    • 3/25/10

    The cast was amazingly strong. Mary Tyler Moore is INCREDIBLE as the emotionally closed mother. Remember, she had just stopped playing the lovable Mary Richards on her old TV show. This role was definitely casting her against type. Donald Sutherland really shines as henpecked husband who realizes he must deal with his son's problems as well as find his own backbone before he loses his son as well as his own manhood. Judd Hirsch almost steals the film as the psychiatrist, Timothy Hutton won an Oscar for his role and he deserved it. This film suffers the problem of all Redford directed films. The pace is very slow, but if it moved much faster the characters couldn't develop.I wish Hollywood made more family dramas like this.

  • Ordinary People (1980)

    • Jay Higgins
    • 10/2/09

    Excellent but overrated drama, extremely well acted by Mary Tyler Moore, and the rest of the cast are all fine. It certainly is depressing. Fine cinematography, very well produced, memorable score. But how this beat Raging Bull for best picture is criminal.

  • A Must See Film about Ordinary People

    • Laura A Rutz-Sloan
    • 7/31/06

    Extrodinarily Must See Film. It is excellent in its content & insightful into the lives of the Jarad Family & how they cope with the death of a family member. Fabulously cast in the georgous suburb of Lake Forest, Illinois on the North Shore of Chicago, Illinois. The film shows the family struggle of Conrad, Calvin & Beth Jarad from each of their perspectives. It is wonderful to watch a great directorial done by the very brillant actor Robert Reford. Ten Star Rating for all of the above.

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