Monday, 30 July 2012

Ordinary People - ★★★★½

Robert Redford has created a fine cinematic masterpiece in my mind, for Ordinary People is a film about family that will forever be relevant to many western families. This is because underneath the smiles and pointless chatter with friends, there are demons inside us all that Ordinary People explored through three characters. They are the Jarret's, played unbelievably well by Donald Sutherland, Timothy Hutton and most surprising, Mary Tyler Moore.

It is a film about dealing with loss, in this case the loss of Buck Jarret, son and brother of the characters. He was swept away after a freak storm hit the boat he sailed on with his brother Conrad. This drastically impacted the family, in particular, Beth (Tyler-Moore) and Conrad (Hutton). Conrad attempted suicide because he felt as if he was "falling into a deep hole that kept getting bigger and bigger and you can't escape." Beth tried dealing with these problems by ignoring her sons depression and dreaming of escaping from the past. She can't talk about her feelings and refuses to get close to Conrad. The father, Calvin (Sutherland), tries his best to make everyone happy, neglecting his own feelings by not talking about the death and the suicide to anyone. All he wants is for things to turn back to normal, but Beth's inability to "love" Conrad keeps driving the family apart.

Judd Hirsch played Conrad's psychiatrist, Dr. Berger. At first Conrad is hesitant to open up to Berger. It seems impossible to help Conrad, yet somehow the doctor gets through to him. He becomes a true friend of Conrad's. One he can yell at, cry to, be himself around. It's a breath of fresh air that entails most of the laughs within the film. The chemistry between Hirsch and Hutton is remarkable. Both were up for Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars, which Hutton won (rightfully). Mary Tyler-Moore was just astounding as Beth. I had no idea how talented Moore was until I saw this film. She also deserved Best Actress for her role. Sutherland gave a touching, soft performance that was beautiful and emotional. I believe that this is one of the best cast films I've ever seen. Each were outstanding in the roles they played.

What makes me call this a great film is that many families can relate to their story and emotion... mine included. The acting was perfect. The story was beautiful, raw and real. The music accompanied the film wonderfully. Many believe that Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull was robbed for Best Picture, but I think the Academy made the right choice in voting for Ordinary People. It may not be the funniest movie, or the most refined piece of cinema, but it is a classic that deserves more recognition than it has.

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