- Actors: Judd Hirsch, Timothy Hutton, Mary Tyler Moore, Donald Sutherland
- Directors: Robert Redford
- Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
- Language: English (Mono), French (Mono)
- Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Number of discs: 1
- Rated: RestrictedR
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- DVD Release Date: August 14, 2001
- Run Time: 124 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (640 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B00AEFYSWM
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,731 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
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Ordinary People (DVD)
An extraordinary motion picture, Ordinary People is an intense examinati on of a family being torn apart by tension and tragedy. Dona ld Sutherla nd and Mary Tyler Moore star as the upper-middle-class couple whose "ord inary" existence is irrevocably shattered by the death of their oldest s on in a boating accident. Timothy Hutton is the younger son, struggling against suicide and guilt left by the drowning. Judd Hirsch is the empa thetic psychiatrist who provides his lifeline to survival. Mary Tyler Mo ore gives a riveting portr ayal of the inexplicably aloof mother. Robert Redford's achievement as director, after more than twenty years as a su perstar in fron t of the camera, earned him an Oscar® Superb performance s and masterful direction complement the award-winning screenplay, based upo n the novel by Judith Guest.]]>
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Top Customer Reviews
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. The mother is so empty and emotionally sterile that it is clear she had never been a true part of that family. At least outside of her first child. ...The father struggled with his feelings, and wanted to share them, but probably felt unable to with such a cold, heartless matriarch in the family. And the... son didn't know what... he wanted, and was caught somewhere between his mother's sterility and his father's earnestness. He was always trying to please both, never realizing that it would never happen with his mother. At least until [something happened], for which the guilt mounted and mounted (with little help from his parents to relieve).
Watching these three characters (well, two, really, for the mother is emotionally arrested) cope with this tragedy and assess their positions in the family unit is so compelling and so wrenching that it's almost voyeuristic. Robert Redford's direction really does feel like we're peeking into the windows of a family that we "know" down the block. Little did we know (or did they) what was really going on.
This is a somber movie; it is not a simple TV movie-of-the-week. It shows that serious pain must be endured before pleasure can be found/regained. You can't sweep anything under the rug. And honesty is a must in any family or relationship; communication is vital to its survival. There's no way around it. Sometimes the communication will lead you to the worst conclusion--that you simply cannot get along--but the truth always prevails. Because only in truth can you even try to change/understand/improve things.
Technically speaking, this is superbly crafted. The acting is brilliant, the direction is penetrating, the dialogue ranges from exuberant to shattering, and everything else is perfect. I've seen a lot of movies, and it still amazes me that one of the most grueling, heart-wrenching pieces of acting I have ever seen was by young Timothy Hutton. The sight of his face and the sound of his voice will tear you apart. To me, that young actor carried the bulk of this heavyweight picture. He is nothing short of brilliant here. Donald Sutherland, definitely a great actor, hasn't been any better than this. To me, he is the ultimate portrait of the honest man struggling with his confusing role as a father and husband. And Mary Tyler Moore, of course, is frighteningly intense as the mother; it's impossible to link this woman to Mary Richards. Great support from everyone else, including the wonderful Elizabeth McGovern (with a character that receives much more development in the novel), and Judd Hirsch as the boy's psychiatrist (their scenese together are brilliant).
I can't stress this film's importance enough. It demands multiple viewings. It is a shining example of how much insight film (and art in general) can shed on our lives if handled with care, taste, and realism. It covers ground that is universal to us all, regardless of family background. Don't cheat yourself out of a profoundly moving experience. And it just might change your life. Now how many movies can you say that about?
"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. Hirsh (who was nominated for an Oscar for the film as well) and Hutton also had great chemistry together -playing off of each other very naturally - certainly a plus for fans of "The Sixth Sense", "The Prince of Tides" and "Good Will Hunting", and Sutherland gave a notable performance as the lost, but hopeful father - which led him to an Oscar nomination.
The characters of this film are surprisingly real and easy to relate to, even the adult friends of Beth and Calvin, as well as Conrad's friends are so believable -making "Ordinary People" one of the greatest character studies of all time. What I really loved about this movie is that it gave nothing away - it trusted the audience to figure out what each character's motives were and what they were thinking, a refreshing change from the regular, Hollywood movie of today - in fact another aspect which made the film so refreshing was that unlike other family dramas it was very unpredictable. Watching "Ordinary People" is a very inexplicable experience, not relying on anything but truth to get its message and entertainment across - its almost like looking into a mirror... bravo to the writers and actors who depicted each character with such layers and candor, possibly paying more attention to detail then the creators of "The Sixth Sense" and other acclaimed mysteries. And not only that, but this movie leaves audiences with a new perspective and a lot to ponder.
This is Robert Redford's directorial debut and by far his greatest. The winner of four Oscars, "Ordinary People", is a classic that cannot be missed, proving once again that the average person is more interesting than a love triangle or action sequence! It is a breakthrough, flawless film that is true to reality, yet is well balanced with comedic relief, suspense and a little romance between Conrad and a girl from his high school. However, we view this relationship realistically and we feel the anxiousness and nervousness between the two without the glamour and lines that could only have been created by a screenwriter or James Bond. Although the movie may appear to be simple on it's exterior, accompanied by only one instrumental piece, Pachelbel's "Canon in D", it has many heavy layers that are thrilling to explore. I feel this film, among other things, is about humanity; what regular people are capable of doing to others out of fear. This is a vital movie for every teenager and adult to see.