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Ordinary People [VHS]


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Product Details

  • Actors: Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, Judd Hirsch, Timothy Hutton, M. Emmet Walsh
  • Directors: Robert Redford
  • Writers: Alvin Sargent, Judith Guest, Nancy Dowd
  • Producers: Ronald L. Schwary
  • Format: Color, HiFi Sound, Original recording remastered, NTSC
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Paramount
  • VHS Release Date: February 13, 1998
  • Run Time: 124 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (371 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6300216977
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #377,626 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A middle aged upper middle-class couple are suddenly shattered with the death in an accident of their oldest son..Guilt and grief are inter-mixed as a phychiarist tries to sort out the jumble of lives involved..A riveting performance bt Mary Tyler Moore and Donald Sutherland

Amazon.com

Robert Redford made his Oscar-winning directorial debut with this highly acclaimed, poignantly observant drama (based on the novel by Judith Guest) about a well-to-do family's painful adjustment to tragedy. Mary Tyler Moore and Donald Sutherland play a seemingly happy couple who lose the older of their two sons to a boating accident; Timothy Hutton plays the surviving teenage son, who blames himself for his brother's death and has attempted suicide to end his pain. They live in a meticulously kept home in an affluent Chicago suburb, never allowing themselves to speak openly of the grief that threatens to tear them apart. Only when the son begins to see a psychiatrist (Judd Hirsch) does the veneer of denial begin to crack, and Ordinary People thenceforth directly examines the broken family ties and the complexity of repressed emotions that have festered under the pretense of coping. Superior performances and an Oscar-winning script by Alvin Sargent make this one of the most uncompromising dramas ever made about the psychology of dysfunctional families. There are moments--particularly related to Mary Tyler Moore's anguished performance as a woman incapable of expressing her deepest emotions--when this film is both intensely involving and heartbreakingly real. No matter how happy and healthy your upbringing was, there's something in this excellent film that everyone can relate to. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

A good story line, well done with great acting...
G. Braunstein
Mary Tyler Moore and Judd Hirsch deserved their Oscar nominations for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor.
David Anderson
While the ordinary is the upper middle class ordinary, it is like any family dealing with loss.
"mtm_fan"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

168 of 171 people found the following review helpful By C. Heinrich on November 9, 2002
Format: DVD
I have seen "Ordinary People" at least a dozen times over the past 17 years. I was 15 when I first saw it. It is one of a small handful of films that I have turned back to over the years as I've grown for new insight and meaning with profound results (others include "Midnight Cowboy" and "Taxi Driver"). Each and every time I see this, I see something new and am still deeply affected.
People and critics throw out the phrase "works on so many levels". This is an ideal film to model that nebulous concept. You could ask 50 people to screen it and ask them what they think it is about, and you would get 50 different responses. You could ask those same 50 people to screen it again in 5 years, and then ask them what they think it's about. You would get 50 different responses again. And so on and so on. You would get "it's about suicide", "it's about [someone] that dies", "it's about a family tragedy", "it's about teen depression", "it's about a cold mother", "it's about a dysfunctional family", and on and on. These are all true (and then some) so it's nearly impossible to describe this film in a nutshell.
"Ordinary People" (the movie and the great book from which it was adapted) shows us how families can go on for years and years (and even generations) without ever realizing or having to assess how everyone feels about one another. Some families get away with it, for things run smoothly on the surface. But sometimes things happen to shatter that facade. Could be an illness, a drug problem, a divorce, a death, whatever. Sometimes something so terrible happens that a family is forced to face each other and speak the unspoken. But sometimes, the unspoken simply cannot be spoken, at least by some of the members.
That is the case with this family.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Madison Graves on June 5, 2001
Format: DVD
The subtle masterpiece and Academy Award winner for best picture of 1980, "Ordinary People", is a heartbreaking, character driven tale that evolves around the lives of an upper class, suburban family in Chicago. The troubled son, Conrad Jared (played by Timothy Hutton), must make an awkward and difficult transition into high school and home life after months in a mental hospital for attempted suicide, greatly due to the loss of his older brother. He is still haunted by his past and desperately longs for a connection with his distant and broken mother, Beth (played by Mary Tyler Moore), as well as a sense of belonging and normalcy, which he searches for during his weekly interactions with his psychiatrist (played by Judd Hirsch), who slowly unlocks the boy's inner pain and mysteries. The concerned father, Calvin (played by Donald Sutherland) tries frantically to assure his son and piece the family back together; however the emotional struggles the family must endure brings out each member's true colors and weaknesses, including the fathers.
"Ordinary People" is carefully crafted, incredibly honest, and touching. Each character is depicted with great depth and sincerity. Hutton delivered an intense, thoughtful and true performance, receiving a well-deserved Oscar for best supporting actor, although the title, best actor, would have been more suitable... the role was made for him, and he owned it with such care, often speaking more with his eyes and body language than words. Another highlight is Mary Tyler Moore, who tackled her first dramatic role amazingly, surprising audiences with her profound, Oscar worthy and most memorable portrayal.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Adam Dukovich on November 27, 2001
Format: DVD
(... This movie) won a Best Picture Oscar, so I figured it would be good. I had no idea. Ordinary People is an astonishing movie where nothing is as it seems. The title itself is ironic, because although the Jared family seems like your typical American family, they are by no means so. Mary Tyler Moore plays Beth, the emotionally retentive mother who would rather not face the unseen demons that are rapidly tearing their family apart. Her performance captures the inner coldness and turmoil that is necessary to the character. Donald Sutherland is also excellent as Calvin, the sociable father who feels somewhat responsible for the problems of the family and wants healing. The regret and sadness of his character shine through, what an excellent job. Judd Hirsch is Dr. Berger, the psychiatrist who helps the family try to heal. But the movie is stolen by Timothy Hutton, who plays the young son Conrad, who had previously attempted suicide. His portrayal of the anguished, emotionally dead Conrad is a virtuoso performance. Eventually, through the help of Dr. Berger, Conrad is able to stop blaming himself for the death of his brother and move on with his life. Perhaps the most tension-filled scene in the movie for me was when Conrad found out that his friend had committed suicide and he goes into the bathroom and turns on the warm water and we see the scars on his wrists, and we can only wait to see if he is going to try it again. Another thing, brilliant direction by Robert Redford. Instead of using indulgent film shots or camera tricks, he just allows the camera to focus on the action, the right approach, even though he might have been tempted to try that kind of thing to prove himself in his first film. This is a great movie, one of the best ever made. Make it the next one you see. However, the DVD version is a little plain (...).
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