Robert Redford’s directorial debut ended up the 1980 Oscar winner for Best Picture. It is a simple but painfully emotional story of the disintegration of a “perfect” family. Teenager Conrad (Timothy Hutton) lives under a cloud of guilt after his brother drowns after their boat capsizes in Lake Michigan. Despite intensive therapy sessions with his psychiatrist (Judd Hirsch), Conrad can’t shake the belief that he should have died instead of his brother; nor do his preoccupied parents (Donald Sutherland and Mary Tyler Moore) offer much in the way of solace. The boy is brought out of his doldrums through his romance with Jeannine (Elizabeth McGovern). A winner in every respect, Ordinary People (adapted from the novel by Judith Guest) scores highest in the scenes with Mary Tyler Moore, who superbly and perceptively portrays a blinkered, ever-smiling suburban wife and mother for whom outward appearance is all that matters. –MSN Movies
Born on August 18, 1936, in Santa Monica, California, to Charles Robert Redford, an accountant for Standard Oil, and Martha Hart. His mother died in 1955, the year after he graduated from high school. Charles Robert Redford Jr. was a scrappy kid who stole hubcaps in high school and lost his college baseball scholarship at the University of Colorado because of drunkenness. After studying at the Pratt Institute of Art and living the painter’s life in Europe, he studied acting in New York at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Lola Redford Van Wagenen (consumer activist), born in 1940, dropped out of college to marry Redford on September 12, 1958. They divorced in 1985 after having four children, one of whom died of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Daughter Shauna Redford, born November 15, 1960, is a painter who married Eric Schlosser on October 5, 1985, in Provo, UT. Her first child, born in January 1991, made Redford a grandfather. Son James Redford AKA Jamie Redford, a screenwriter… read more
[SPOILER] Almost an update on "Catcher In The Rye" for a male generation more used to questioning the world they live in and confronting their emotional states, the film admirably resists the temptation to shift the focus from Conrad and onto his parents. The last shot of the film to me has echoes of Tarkovsky's "Solaris", with its father and son finding at least a modicum of comfort in letting their emotions speak.
A beautifully rendered family drama, full of taught scenes and subtle tensions. It draws you in with great characters, dialogue and elegant pacing. Quite a treat from a traditional hollywood set-up. A pleasant surprise.
This is a powerful directing debut from Robert Redford, a great family drama that goes every which way but down. By the end, our thoughts have been altered a bit and its a film that leaves you thinking… read review
Ordinary People is one of the most earnest, touching, and honest films about a family in crisis. Today people may enter it with the wrong perception. Many only think of it as the film that beat Raging… read review
Wow, Sutherland, Moore, Hirsch, McGovern, and Hutton all gave such touching and in touch performances. A boy struggles with feelings of guilt, which a lot of people probably feel in one way or another… read review