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

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

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.