Ted Kramer's wife leaves her husband, allowing for a lost bond to be rediscovered between Ted and his son, Billy. But a heated custody battle ensues over the divorced couple's son, deepening the wounds left by the separation.
Beth, Calvin, and their son Conrad are living in the aftermath of the death of the other son. Conrad is overcome by grief and misplaced guilt to the extent of a suicide attempt. He is in therapy. Beth had always preferred his brother and is having difficulty being supportive to Conrad. Calvin is trapped between the two trying to hold the family together. Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
The film and source novel's "Ordinary People" title comes from Judith Guest's book: "They are ordinary people, after all. For a time they had entered the world of the newspaper statistic; a world where any measure you took to feel better was temporary, at best, but that is over. This is permanent. It must be." The novel is a school text on the English curricula at many American high schools. See more »
The golf scene is set on the 18th hole of the golf course but they are seen leaving the practice green (multiple holes in the putting surface are visible). See more »
Can you ever break the ball?
Conrad "Con" Jarrett:
You can't break the ball. Can't break the floor. Can't break anything in a bowling alley. And that's what I like about bowling alleys. Can't even break the record.
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Ordinary People is an extraordinary motion picture for five reasons. The outstanding direction of Robert Redford, and the brilliant acting of Mary Tyler Moore, Donald Sutherland, Timothy Hutton and Judd Hirsch.
This movie is set in suburban Chicago. The family is an upper-middle class foursome, the parents and their two sons. The eldest son, Buck, is killed in a boating accident. The other son, Conrad, survives but is riddled with guilt. His mother, Beth, who idolized her deceased first born, is cold with her surviving son. She looks at him and is reminded of the pain. Instead of nurturing her surviving child she distances herself from him. Conrad attempts suicide and spends time in a mental hospital. Calvin, the understanding father, is torn between his wife and son.
Dr. Berger, a psychiatrist, is hired by the family to help the troubled young man. The scenes between Hutton and Hirsch are amongst the best in the movie. He helps Conrad understand his mother's pain and shortcomings and to stand on his own. Conrad tries to keep his family together and realizes, almost with relief, that the family's problems are caused by Beth's "burying all her love with Buck".
This is a fascinating motion picture. The direction and the performances are superb. It is an intelligent, moving and honest examination about a family torn by grief and pain. Don't miss it!
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