Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ordinary People (1980)

Ordinary People is an intimate portrait of a family in crisis. The film, Robert Redford's directorial debut, cuts to the core of the family dynamics within an affluent WASP family in crisis. The outstanding cast includes Mary Tyler Moore, Donald Sutherland, Timothy Hutton, Judd Hirsch and Elizabeth McGovern. Based on the best-selling novel by Judith Guest, the story focuses on Conrad Jarrett (Hutton), a teenager struggling with his remorse for not having saved his older brother from drowning. The parents, portrayed by Moore and Sutherland, behave as if everything is normal. Beneath the surface, the tension within the household is near a breaking point. Judd Hirsch is excellent as the psychiatrist helping Conrad after his attempted suicide. Mary Tyler Moore provides a gripping portrayal of an emotionally challenged woman. Donald Sutherland provides a tender performance of a man trying to understand and help his ailing family. Timothy Hutton delivers a sensitive portrayal of the troubled teenager.

Alvin Sargent adapted the novel for the screen. The film won the Oscar for Best Picture.

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