Friday 14 July 2023

Review of Ordinary People (1980) Movie

Ordinary People (1980) Movie Review

Ordinary People (1980) Movie Review

The Storyline

Ordinary People is a 1980 movie directed by Robert Redford that tells the story of the Jarretts, a wealthy family from Lake Forest, Illinois, who are struggling to cope with the death of their eldest son, Buck, in a boating accident. The movie follows Conrad, the younger son who tried to commit suicide after the accident. Conrad's psychiatrist, Dr. Berger, helps him unravel his feelings and deal with his guilt and the strained relationship with his parents.

The Cast

The movie stars Timothy Hutton, Mary Tyler Moore, Judd Hirsch, and Donald Sutherland. Timothy Hutton won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Conrad, while Mary Tyler Moore was nominated for Best Actress for her role as the cold and distant mother.

The Direction and Cinematography

Robert Redford's direction and John Bailey's cinematography offer a beautiful and subtle visual language for the film. The movie was filmed in a naturalistic style, capturing the often-overlooked domestic emotions of the characters.

The Themes

Ordinary People encourages us to confront the reality of our emotions and to resist the urge to put up facades. It challenges us to accept that life is not perfect and that human suffering is a necessary component of growth. This movie is both heartbreaking and uplifting, a masterpiece that cuts to the heart of what it means to be human.

Overall, Ordinary People is a timeless drama that examines the complexities of grief, family dynamics, and mental health. The movie's performances and direction are exceptional, and its timely themes still resonate today. It is a must-see for anyone who appreciates the power of cinema to explore the human condition.

Plot Summary Review Ordinary People (1980) Movie

Ordinary People (1980) Movie

Ordinary People (1980) is a critically acclaimed drama movie directed by Robert Redford. The movie is based on the best-selling novel written by Judith Guest and it tells a story of a family struggling to cope with the death of their eldest son.

Plot Summary

The movie revolves around the Jarrett family, consisting of Calvin (Donald Sutherland), Beth (Mary Tyler Moore), and their son Conrad (Timothy Hutton). The family is still mourning the death of their oldest son, Buck, who died in a sailing accident. Conrad tries to commit suicide and is institutionalized for a period of time. After his release, Conrad slowly starts to reconnect with his family and meet with his psychiatrist, Dr. Berger (Judd Hirsch), to help him cope with his feelings of guilt and depression.

The storyline follows the family's difficulties in communicating their emotions with one another, the strain the family's grief puts on their relationships and how they learn to overcome their struggles. Conrad learns to accept himself and seeks closure on Buck's death. Additionally, the movie effectively portrays mental health issues and the effects of therapy, including the evolution of personal growth.

Ordinary People is a touching, emotional drama that portrays the complexities of grief and the impact it can have on a family's dynamics. It is a well-deserved winner of four Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The performances of the cast, especially Timothy Hutton's portrayal of Conrad, are outstanding and truly bring the characters' emotions to life. Overall, this movie is a must-watch for those interested in the human condition, mental health and the journey of personal growth.

Characters and their backgrounds Review Ordinary People (1980) Movie

Characters and their backgrounds Review Ordinary People (1980) Movie

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The Plot

Ordinary People, a movie that was released in 1980, follows the story of the Jarrett family as they try to cope with the aftermath of a tragic boating accident. The story revolves around the characters of Conrad, Calvin, and Beth, who are portrayed excellently by the actors Timothy Hutton, Donald Sutherland, and Mary Tyler Moore respectively.

The Characters

The characters in the movie are well-developed and each has their own unique background. Conrad, the teenage son, struggles with guilt and depression after surviving the accident that claimed his older brother's life. His father, Calvin, tries to connect with him but never seems to be able to understand his struggles. Beth, the mother, tries to put up a façade of strength and perfection, but eventually crumbles under the pressure of her own unresolved grief.

Their Backgrounds

The backgrounds of the characters are slowly revealed throughout the movie, giving the audience a better understanding of their motivations and struggles. Conrad's background as an overachieving student with a history of mental health issues helps explain his internal struggles. Calvin's background as a successful but emotionally distant father provides insight into his struggle to connect with his son. Beth's background as a perfectionist who is unable to process her own grief makes her character all the more tragic.

The Impact

The characters' backgrounds and struggles are portrayed in an authentic and profound manner, making the movie a poignant look at the effects of trauma on a family. Ordinary People won four Oscars, including Best Picture, and is widely regarded as one of the best movies of the 1980s.

In conclusion, Ordinary People is a timeless classic that explores the complexities of human relationships and the impact of tragedy on a family. The well-drawn characters and their backgrounds make the movie a must-watch for anyone interested in character-driven drama.

Setting and Location Review: Ordinary People (1980) Movie

Ordinary People Movie


Ordinary People, a 1980 American family drama movie, directed by Robert Redford, is an adaptation of Judith Guest's novel of the same title. The movie was filmed mostly in and around Lake Forest, Illinois, and showcases a beautiful suburban area with large houses and a scenic lake.

The House

The house in which the Jarrett family lives plays a significant role in the movie. The house is big and spacious, with well-manicured lawns and landscaped gardens. The house is a symbol of the family's wealth and status. The family's dining room and living room have large windows that overlook the lake, which adds to the beauty of the set.

The Sailing Club

Conrad, one of the main characters, finds solace in sailing. The sailing club is where he first meets his friend Karen and it becomes their sanctuary. The sailing club location adds a sense of freedom and peace to the movie with its serene and picturesque setting.

The Hospital

Conrad's mental health struggles lead him to a psychiatric hospital. The location highlights Conrad's vulnerability and the unfamiliarity of the hospital setting, adding to the tension and emotions felt by the audience.

Overall, the setting and locations in Ordinary People significantly contribute to the film's story and theme. The suburban setting, the big house, the sailing club, and the hospital add depth and emotion to the storyline. These elements complement the outstanding performances of the cast, making Ordinary People an enduring classic.

Cinematography and Visual Effects Review: Ordinary People (1980) Movie

Ordinary People cinematography and visual effects review

The Cinematography

Robert Redford’s directorial debut, Ordinary People, presents a beautifully shot and visually pleasing movie. The film is exceptionally cinematic, with the use of striking colors, angles, and compositions that not only effectively tell the story but also visually captivate the audience. The camera work is simple yet elegant, which helps in creating a serene atmosphere for the audience to sink in.

The Visual Effects

While Ordinary People didn’t rely heavily on visual effects, some of the most powerful moments come from their subtle use. The black-and-white flashbacks of Conrad’s notorious accident and his brother’s death were handled seamlessly, and the subtle use of slow-motion shots and cross-cutting added a sense of urgency and tension, effectively bringing out the emotional depth of the story.

The Overall Effect

The cinematography and visual effects work together to create an immersive experience for the audience. It enhances the artistry of the film and shapes the mood and tone, creating an emotional experience for the viewers that resonates long after seeing the movie. In sum, Redford’s choice to make the movie visually engaging lends credibility to the sense of emotionalism that is present throughout the movie.

In conclusion, Ordinary People is a remarkable movie, not just because of the poignant performances, direction, and writing but also because of the exquisite cinematography and subtle visual effects. These elements bring together a moving and affecting story that is a testament to the human spirit. It is a classic that remains relevant to this day.

Sound and Music Review of Ordinary People (1980) Movie

Sound and Music Review Ordinary People (1980) Movie

The Soundtrack

Ordinary People (1980) was directed by Robert Redford and won the Best Picture at the Oscars that year. The movie features a touching storyline based on the novel by Judith Guest, with outstanding performances by Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, and Timothy Hutton. The movie’s soundtrack by Marvin Hamlisch brought a more somber tone to the film. Hamlisch’s music perfectly captures the emotional intensity of the movie, with a melancholic mood throughout the score.

The Use of Silence

One of the most striking things about the movie is how it uses silence. As opposed to music playing throughout the film, there are several instances where there is no accompanying music. These silent scenes allow the audience to focus on the dialogue and the emotions of the characters. This use of silence emphasizes how music is used as a tool to convey emotions and aid in enhancing the visuals and dialogue in the film.

The Impact of the Sound and Music

The sound and music in Ordinary People evoke emotional responses in the audience. The music creates a backdrop that accentuates the somber and melancholic tone of the movie. The subtle use of a single instrument, such as the piano or guitar, aids in creating a more personal and intimate atmosphere. The music is also used to signify different parts of the characters' emotional journeys, highlighting their internal struggles.

In conclusion, the sound and music in Ordinary People perfectly complements the emotional and psychological aspects of the movie. Marvin Hamlisch's music seamlessly underscores the storytelling, while the subtle use of silence makes the emotional moments in the film more poignant. The soundtrack of Ordinary People is a standout aspect of this movie, and it continues to be celebrated today.

Themes and Messages Conveyed in Review of Ordinary People (1980) Movie

Themes and Messages Conveyed in Review of Ordinary People (1980) Movie

The Movie Plot

Ordinary People (1980) is a story of a suburban family struggling to deal with the aftermath of a tragic event. The Jarrett family consists of Calvin (Donald Sutherland), Beth (Mary Tyler Moore), and their son Conrad (Timothy Hutton). We follow Conrad's journey after his failed suicide attempt and his attempt to reconcile with his mother who is dealing with her grief in a different way.


One of the significant themes of the movie is the concept of healing and dealing with grief. The film portrays the struggles of individuals to come to terms with a traumatic event and the path that they take towards healing. Another theme is the complexity of family dynamics. The Jarrett family has been struggling with communication and their relationships with each other, and the tragic event is a catalyst that forces them to face their issues.

Messages Conveyed

The movie conveys multiple messages that can be applied to our daily lives. Firstly, it emphasizes the importance of communication and the need to address issues within families. Secondly, it highlights that healing is not a linear path and that people cope with trauma differently. Finally, the movie encourages empathy towards others and understanding that everyone has a story and struggles.

Final Thoughts

Ordinary People is a must-watch movie that tackles heavy themes such as mental health, grief, and family dynamics. The movie's brilliance is in its ability to tell a captivating story while also conveying important messages. It is a movie that will leave you reflecting on your own life and relationships.

Critical Reception and Reviews Review Ordinary People (1980) Movie

Ordinary People movie review

Ordinary People is a 1980 American drama film directed by Robert Redford and adapted from a novel of the same name. The movie follows the lives of an upper-middle-class family in Illinois dealing with the aftermath of a tragic accident that claimed the life of one of their sons.

The movie was received positively by critics and audiences alike, garnering numerous awards including four Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay. Critics praised the movie for its strong performances, poignant storytelling, and nuanced exploration of complex family dynamics.

Apart from its commercial success, Ordinary People was significant in its depiction of mental health issues and the impact of loss and grief. The movie portrayed the emotional struggles of the main characters with empathy and realism, earning it a place in the canon of films dealing with mental health and its effect on families.

Overall, Ordinary People stands as a poignant and powerful movie that has withstood the test of time. Its themes of family, resilience, and acceptance continue to resonate with viewers and make it a classic work of cinema.

In conclusion, Ordinary People has been hailed as a groundbreaking movie that tackled important issues with sensitivity and nuance. Its powerful performances, poignant storytelling, and realistic depiction of mental health struggles have earned it a lasting place in the hearts of audiences and in the history of cinema. If you have not seen it yet, Ordinary People is a movie that will stay with you long after the credits roll.

Box Office Performance and Awards Won Review: Ordinary People (1980) Movie

Ordinary People movie poster

Ordinary People is a 1980 drama movie directed by Robert Redford and starring Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, and Timothy Hutton. The movie was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $50 million at the box office on a budget of just $6.2 million. It won four Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor for Timothy Hutton.

The movie tells the story of a wealthy family in Illinois that is coming apart at the seams after the tragic death of one of their sons in a boating accident. The surviving son, Conrad, is struggling with his own mental health issues and feeling isolated and alone. Over the course of the movie, the family must confront their own failings and learn to come together in the face of tragedy.

The performances in Ordinary People are exceptional, particularly Timothy Hutton's portrayal of Conrad. He brings a depth and nuance to the role that is rare for such a young actor. Mary Tyler Moore also gives a standout performance as the mother struggling to hold her family together.

Overall, Ordinary People is a poignant and powerful movie that tackles difficult themes with sensitivity and grace. Its critical and commercial success, along with its multiple Oscar wins, solidified it as one of the best movies of the 1980s. It's a must-see for any fans of drama and heartfelt storytelling.

Conclusion Review Ordinary People (1980) Movie

ordinary people movie

The movie Ordinary People (1980) directed by Robert Redford depicts the intense emotions and conflicts revolving around a family that has been through a traumatic event. The film's character development and storytelling captivated viewers as they watched the Jarrett family navigate through grief, guilt, and forgiveness.

One of the standout elements of the movie was the phenomenal acting performances by the cast, particularly Timothy Hutton, who won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Conrad Jarrett. The chemistry between the actors was palpable, lending an authenticity to the family's struggles.

Furthermore, the film tackled themes that were ahead of its time - namely, the importance of therapy and mental health in family dynamics. Even today, Ordinary People remains a touching and realistic portrayal of grief and emotional healing.

Overall, Ordinary People is a must-watch for those who appreciate great storytelling, character development, and poignant performances. It's a timeless classic that has been able to stand the test of time and remain relevant in today's society.

Ordinary People (1980) Review: A Moving Tale of Family, Grief, and Redemption

Directed by Robert Redford, "Ordinary People" is a timeless classic that explores the complexities of family dynamics, grief, and redemption. Set against the picturesque suburbia of Lake Forest, Illinois, the film revolves around the Jarrett family- Calvin (Donald Sutherland), Beth (Mary Tyler Moore), and their son Conrad (Timothy Hutton).

After the tragic death of their older son Buck, the Jarretts struggle to cope with their overwhelming sense of loss and guilt. Conrad, who survived a suicide attempt, comes out of a mental institution and tries to reconnect with his family, but his strained relationship with his mother and the guilt that he feels for his brother's death continue to haunt him.

As the story unfolds, the film delves deeper into the characters' inner conflict, relationships, and the complexity of human emotions. Hutton delivers a powerful performance that captures the anguish, vulnerability, and resilience of a young man trying to make sense of his life. Sutherland's portrayal of a sympathetic father and Moore's nuanced portrayal of a mother struggling with her grief and anger are also exceptional.

One of the most striking aspects of the film is how it portrays mental health and therapy. The scenes that take place in the therapist's office are raw, honest, and devoid of clichés, which is refreshing. The film shows how therapy can help people confront their pain, heal their wounds, and learn to live again.

In conclusion, "Ordinary People" is a must-watch film for anyone who loves character-driven dramas with exceptional performances. It is a moving tale of family, grief, and redemption that will stay with you for a long time.

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Review Ordinary People (1980) Movie