An Extraordinary Movie about Ordinary People!
Rachel Alice Hunter | Florida USA | 05/06/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"5 Stars. (Only 2 other movies, Metropolis and Saving Private Ryan, got that from me). ****Spoilers****
Director Robert Redford, in his directorial debut, makes cinematic perfection with the screenplay by Alvin Sargent (from the best selling novel by Judith Guest). Redford stays extremely true to the novel by Judith Guest and extracts exceptional performances from Hutton, Donald Sutherland (dad), Mary Tyler Moore (mom), the shrink (Judd Hirsch), the girlfriend (Elizabeth Perkins), and the swim coach (M. Emmet Walsh). It was Best Picture, Best Director (Redford in his debut), Best Supporting Actor (Hutton), and best Adapted Screenplay (Alvin Sargent - wrote Unfaithful).
Conrad Jarett (Timothy Hutton) is a teenager struggling with trying to kill himself after his brother's accidental death but is now out of the hospital and seeing Doctor Burger (Judd Hirsh). The movie is seamless going from one scene to the next much akin to anxiety. It takes you into Conrad's struggles through the film, his father's (Sutherland) struggle with his own guilt, and his mom's (Mary Tyler Moore) disaffection for her son. The family falls apart even though dad is trying to keep it together while Conrad is in deep introspection and finding out who he really is inside. He's not his brash brother.
Conrad and his shrink's exchanges are poignant, deep, and sometimes hilarious. He knows just when to push Connie. He knows when to let Connie vent. Even Dad goes to see him. Mom just can't seem to engage emotionally making Moore's performance something to behold. You see her anger or loss of feeling for Connie from the beginning while dad is supportive. While Conrad conquers his demons, they tear their marriage apart.
One of the best lines is "Where there's a real problem, there's a real answer." Hutton's brilliant depiction of going through suicidal ideas is breathtaking.
The beginning and the ending are brilliant. All in-between is a collage of a family falling apart while the son is facing his demons with success. The movie is deep with raw emotion from everyone. It'll make you laugh, cry, and look deep inside yourself. I've seen it maybe 50 or so times. The classical music throughout just makes it even more emotionally driven.
Ordinary People is anything but ordinary. It is an extraordinary movie about ordinary people."