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Ordinary People (1980)

7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 28,078 users   Metascore: 85/100
Reviews: 266 user | 50 critic | 11 from Metacritic.com

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.

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(based on the novel by), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Ordinary People (1980)

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Won 4 Oscars. Another 20 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Berger
...
...
Swim Coach
...
...
Karen
...
Joe
...
Ray (as James B. Sikking)
...
Sloan
Quinn K. Redeker ...
Ward (as Quinn Redeker)
...
Audrey
Meg Mundy ...
Grandmother
Elizabeth Hubbard ...
Ruth
...
Stillman
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Storyline

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 <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

therapy | suicide | death | high school | guilt | See more »

Taglines:

some films you watch, others you feel. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 February 1981 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Ordinary People  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$54,800,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first draft took a year and a half to write, and the second took another year, as it was very difficult to adapt a novel which featured very heavy dialogue with almost no descriptions of characters or settings. It was during this time that actor Robert Redford decided to direct the picture. See more »

Goofs

When Karen and Conrad are at the restaurant and Karen is leaving, the Cokes have disappeared from the table. See more »

Quotes

Conrad "Con" Jarrett: When I let myself feel, all I feel is lousy.
Dr. Berger: Oh well excuse me, I never promised you a rose garden.
Conrad "Con" Jarrett: Oh fuck you Berger.
Dr. Berger: What?
Conrad "Con" Jarrett: FUCK YOU!
Dr. Berger: Hey, that's it!
Conrad "Con" Jarrett: Geez! You're really weird huh, what do you feel huh? Do you jerk off, or jack off, or whatever you call it?
Dr. Berger: What do you think?
Conrad "Con" Jarrett: What do I think? I think you're married to a fat lady and you go home and you fuck the living daylights out of her!
Dr. Berger: Sounds good to me.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in House M.D.: Office Politics (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

For He's a Jolly Good Fellow
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by all at the party
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The epitome of the broken family genre.
26 May 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

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!


26 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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