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>
Gene Hackman was originally cast as Dr. Berger, but had to bow out. Judd Hirsch stepped in to fill the role, on condition that he could complete the filming of his scenes in eight days, so as not to interfere with his schedule on the TV show Taxi (1978). See more »
While Conrad is watching the swim meet and fighting outside of school, he has a red plaid shirt under a gray sweater. When he arrives back at his grandmother's house and the subsequent scenes, he has a white with thin blue stripes shirt and a beige sweater. See more »
A little advice about feelings kiddo; don't expect it always to tickle.
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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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