Aurora and Emma are mother and daughter who march to different drummers. Beginning with Emma's marriage, Aurora shows how difficult and loving she can be. The movie covers several years of ... See full summary »
James L. Brooks
In eighteenth century England, "first cousins" Tom Jones and Master Blifil grew up together in privilege in the western countryside, but could not be more different in nature. Tom, the ... See full summary »
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
One of two Robert Redford movies released in 1980 that were Oscar nominated. This film received six Oscar nominations whilst Brubaker (1980) was an Academy Award nominee for Best Original Screenplay. 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 »
It's really important to try and hurt me isn't it?
Conrad "Con" Jarrett:
Don't you have that backwards?
Oh, and how do I hurt you? By embarrassing you in front of a friend? "Poor Beth, she has no idea what her son is up to, he lies and she believes every word of it."
Conrad "Con" Jarrett:
I didn't lie!
You did! You lied every time you came into this house at 6.30! If its starting all over again, the lying, the covering up, the disappearing for hours, I won't stand for it, I can't stand for it, I really can't!
Conrad "Con" Jarrett:
Well don't then! Go to ...
[...] See more »
The perfect life of the perfect family is destroyed when the older of 2 sons dies in a sailing accident, leaving the parents and his younger brother to grieve, pick up and carry on. But how they accomplish this makes this movie a shattering but ultimately uplifting (in parts) experience.
Buck Jarrett drowns after he and his younger brother, Conrad, go sailing on a questionable day. Later, Conrad, feeling the guilt of his brother's death, tries to commit suicide by slashing his wrists. This turns out to be a blessing in disguise because the true personalities of his parents, Cal and Beth, as well as his own ability to grow are revealed when Conrad returns from the psychiatric hospital after a 4-month stay.
Conrad is given the name of Dr. Tyrone Berger, a psychiatrist (marvelously played by Judd Hirsch) who is unconventional to say the least. He dresses casually, drinks coffee he makes in his office and smokes incessantly (this is pre anti-tobacco). And he doesn't buy into the psychobabble practiced by many psychiatrists. At first, Conrad tells Dr. Berger he wants to gain control but what he really wants is to not feel - not feel the pain of his brother's death and what he believes is his part in it. But that unravels through a series of experiences he endures as the movie proceeds. In choir practice, Conrad is smitten with Jeannine Pratt (beautifully played by Elizabeth McGovern), a fellow singer who has an ability to recognize Conrad's pain without being amazed, horrified or judgmental. And Conrad also has a friend, Karen, (played nicely by Dinah Manoff)whom he'd met in the hospital and who can relate to his experiences there.
Donald Sutherland as Cal, Mary Tyler Moore as Beth and Timothy Hutton as Conrad give outstanding, Oscar-caliber performances. Cal tries to keep his feelings hidden by wearing a mask of bravado, carrying on and functioning in a world that has taken his son away. He loves Conrad and also recognizes his pain and his alienation fom his mother though he realizes he can't "fix it." But it's Mary Tyler Moore's performance as Beth that is so amazing. She is plastic through and through and it gets to the point of being downright annoying and yet MTM's portrayal is perfect. Of all the characters, hers is really the most disturbed. She wants to have things exactly as they were even though she mourns the loss of her firstborn son. She can't love Conrad because he committed the one unforgivable sin - he survived while her favorite did not.
Timothy Hutton, sadly, has never had a movie to top "Ordinary People." He has done other work, of course, (most notably in my opinion, "Taps") and can be seen currently as Archie in "Nero Wolf" on A&E. But his role as the troubled surviving son who rises from the pain in "Ordinary People" is truly magnificent and shattering. He earned the Oscar and he truly deserved it. And as he accepted his Academy Award, he remembered his father, actor Jim Hutton, who had died from liver cancer shortly before Timothy got the award. That was a classy thing to do. I hope Mr. Hutton gets another plum role like this one; everything else he has done since pales in comparison.
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