Sunday, September 22, 2013

Ordinary People

Continuing with 80s middle-brow melodrama, I just watched Ordinary People. Even though I found myself resisting it, I actually think it's an extraordinary movie.

It follows an upper class WASP family trying to recover from the death of one teenage son, and the suicide attempt of the surviving one, played by Timothy Hutton. Getting in the way of the family's recovery is the mother, Beth, played by Mary Tyler Moore. Her character is so tightly-wound, in deep denial, unable to express feelings, that she creates friction with her husband and son that is painful to watch. Mary Tyler Moore's performance was riveting and flawless. Also a stunning performance was Donald Sutherland as her well-meaning, awkward, sweet, and very scared husband.

Judd Hirsch plays Timothy Hutton's psychiatrist who helps him deal with his feelings toward his mother and his guilt about the accident which killed his brother.

Part of me kept thinking it was all too much, but the acting was amazing, and the intense focus on the family in crisis, although difficult to watch, was really masterfully executed.


Anonymous said...

agreed---it won several awards!

Anonymous said...

Such a great movie. Still makes me cry.