Ordinary People (1980)

ordinary people“A little advice about feelings kiddo; don’t expect it always to tickle.” – Dr. Berger

Number of Times Seen – 2 (on cable in mid-1990’s and 30 Jan 2014)

Brief Synopsis – A movie that explores how a tragedy affects members of a once close-knit family

My Take on it – Robert Redford is one of just 6 actors to have won an Oscar as Director.  He was also the first.  The others in order were Warren Beatty for Reds (1981), Richard Attenborough for Gandhi (1982), Kevin Costner for Dances With Wolves (1990), Mel Gibson for Braveheart (1995) and Clint Eastwood for both Unforgiven (1992) and Million Dollar Baby (2004).

This movie (which is based on a book by the same name, takes an “ordinary” family and shows how a tragedy can affect the lives of each and every one of them and when you stay closed off from one another things can only get worse.

This movie shows the journey that they must take in order to understand what their problems are.

Judd Hirsch plays a psychologist who helps them along their journey and his sessions with Timothy Hutton’s character are the strongest scenes in this movie.

Beside Hirsch and Hutton (who were both nominated for Best Supporting actor, with Hutton winning and still holding the record of being the youngest actor to win an Oscar), Donald Sutherland and Mary Tyler Moore are both excellent as the parents in this family trying to find their way amidst crisis.

This movie won 4 of 6 Oscars – Picture, Director, Writing and Best Supporting Actor (Hutton).  It lost Best Actress (Moore) and Supporting Actor (Hirsch).

Truly a remarkable movie!

Bottom Line – Great directorial debut of Redford.  Excellent story that really delves into how tragedy can affect ordinary people’s lives. Amazing cast. Highly recommended!

Rating – Oscar Worthy


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20 thoughts on “Ordinary People (1980)

  1. Pingback: Oscar Best Picture Winner Reviews | MovieRob

  2. Totally agreed. To the extent that this is one of my favorite movies ever. Redford’s camera angles and soundtrack selections are a marvel, as they do so much to propel the film’s copious emotion.

    Now that I have finally seen Raging Bull, I will never understand how so many call Scorcese’s boxing flick one of the best movies ever and the best of the 1980s. It isn’t even close to being the best of its own year, because Ordinary People is so much better than it.


    • I completely agree with you on that. Not a big fan of Raging Bull (1980) and this one was done amazingly by a first time director. It’s such a powerful movie that is solely dialogue based with very little “action”. The book is supposedly superior to the movie


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