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.
Continue reading: Ordinary People Review