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?
Run time: 124 mins
In Theaters: Friday 27th February 1981
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Production compaines: Paramount Pictures, Wildwood Enterprises
Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Fresh: 34 Rotten: 3
IMDB: 7.9 / 10
Director: Robert Redford
Producer: Ronald L. Schwary
Screenwriter: Alvin Sargent
Starring: Donald Sutherland as Calvin Jarrett, Mary Tyler Moore as Beth Jarrett, Judd Hirsch as Dr. Tyrone C. Berger, Timothy Hutton as Conrad Jarrett, M. Emmet Walsh as Coach Salan, Elizabeth McGovern as Jeannine Pratt, Dinah Manoff as Karen, Fredric Lehne as Lazenby, James Sikking 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, Adam Baldwin as Stillman, Richard Whiting as Grandfather
Also starring: Alvin Sargent
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