Ordinary People

"Extraordinary"

Ordinary People Review


Before Good Will Hunting turned psychiatry into pop culture and before The Ice Storm made suburban angst into a fashion show, Ordinary People opened the eyes of all of us. A bitter and heart-wrenching tale of teen suicide and alienation, Timothy Hutton takes center stage as Conrad Jarrett, a troubled teenager trying to cope with the accidental death of his big brother -- and not doing a good job of it. In fact, he tried to "off himself" and, having not succeeded, he finds himself the sole exhibition in a virtual and delicate menagerie for his friends and his parents.

We soon see that Conrad's problems run deep, as what should be quaint little interactions between he and doting mom (Mary Tyler Moore, excellent here), or he and imperviously upbeat dad (Donald Sutherland, ditto) turn perverse and creepy. His shrink (Judd Hirsch) doesn't offer any "It's not your fault" platitudes, leaving Conrad's healing process up to himself. The only joy he finds is with his new girl Jeannine (Elizabeth McGovern, in her second role ever), who would be perfectly cast -- except she looks too much like Karen (Dinah Manoff), Conrad's friend from the hospital.

The sets and the music are perfect -- somber and subtly depressing. "Canon in D Minor" will never have another connection for me. I am shocked that people play a song so intertwined with suicide at their weddings.

Directed by Robert Redford (who won an Oscar, as did the film itself), in his dazzling directorial debut, Ordinary People is at once stuck in the late 1970s and impeccably timeless. It is a film that overflows with emotion yet somehow keeps it all beneath the surface for the characters. That kind of paradox you don't see every day. How could you?



Ordinary People

Facts and Figures

Run time: 124 mins

In Theaters: Friday 27th February 1981

Budget: $6M

Distributed by: Paramount Pictures

Production compaines: Paramount Pictures, Wildwood Enterprises

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Fresh: 34 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 7.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Ronald L. Schwary

Starring: as Calvin Jarrett, as Beth Jarrett, as Dr. Tyrone C. Berger, as Conrad Jarrett, as Coach Salan, as Jeannine Pratt, as Karen, as Lazenby, as Ray Hanley, Basil Hoffman as Sloan, Scott Doebler as Jordan 'Buck' Jarrett, Quinn K. Redeker as Ward, Mariclare Costello as Audrey, Meg Mundy as Grandmother, Elizabeth Hubbard as Ruth, as Stillman, Richard Whiting as Grandfather

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

With virtually the same blend of wit and idiocy as the 2001 original, this fashion-scene...

A Bigger Splash Movie Review

A Bigger Splash Movie Review

Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love) reteams with Tilda Swinton for this fresh, tricky...

Deadpool Movie Review

Deadpool Movie Review

Both the filmmakers and the characters on-screen are so pleased with themselves that this might...

Trumbo Movie Review

Trumbo Movie Review

An entertaining film about sobering true events, this is the story of notorious screenwriter Dalton...

Goosebumps Movie Review

Goosebumps Movie Review

Mixing the action, comedy and horror from novelist R.L. Stein's books into a family-friendly package,...

Dad's Army Movie Review

Dad's Army Movie Review

The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little...

Spotlight Movie Review

Spotlight Movie Review

This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on...

Advertisement
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this...

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

There's nothing clever about this deliberately rude and vulgar comedy, but certain audiences will find...

The Big Short Movie Review

The Big Short Movie Review

Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using...

The 5th Wave Movie Review

The 5th Wave Movie Review

Also based on the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic teen novels, this thriller feels...

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart reteam for a sequel no one really asked for, following...

Room Movie Review

Room Movie Review

One of the most extraordinary films of the year, this drama cleverly weaves in events...

Creed Movie Review

Creed Movie Review

While this film is basically Rocky VII, it's also much more than that, and perhaps...

A Perfect Day Movie Review

A Perfect Day Movie Review

An irreverent comedy in the style of the original M.A.S.H., this wartime romp takes an...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.