Sunday, December 27, 2009

Ordinary People (1980) (2nd time)

The accidental death of the older son of an affluent family deeply strains the relationships among the bitter mother, the good-natured father, and the guilt-ridden younger son. [imdb]

Nominated for 6 Oscars:

Best Picture (WINNER)
Best Director: Robert Redford (WINNER)
Best Actress: Mary Tyler Moore
Best Supporting Actor: Judd Hirsch
Best Supporting Actor: Timothy Hutton (WINNER)
Best Adapted Screenplay (WINNER)

I hadn't seen Ordinary People in about 4-5 years. I didn't think much of it back then, even though I admited some scenes to be very well written & acted. The second time around, it felt much better. The screenplay is very good, minus the cheesy flashbacks; and what I did notice this time is how real it feels, how perfectly set are the uncomfortable scenes of human interaction.
And I had forgotten how excellent Timothy Hutton is. The acting is good all around, but he's the star (and the leading character, for that matter); a terrific performance, especially considering it's a debut role and the character could've been played in so many wrong ways. This is the closest Donald Sutherland ever came to an Oscar nomination and Mary Tyler Moore is perfectly cast as the cold mother (I'll write more next week on the other blog). Robert Redford's direction is mostly subtle, reassuring; he probably didn't deserve the win, considering competition from Polanki, Scorsese & Lynch. And I won't mention anything about the Best Picture Oscar, as I haven't checked the other major nominees in a very long time.
My rating for the film: 8.5/10. Because it really is a great family drama, simple and honest. And a very cool emotional ending.


  1. I love this film. The way it handles the relationships and the depth of understanding about how grief affects different people is incredibly touching.

    People often site it as one of the Academy's biggest mistakes, but I think I would have voted with them.

    (How are you, by the way)

  2. yeah, it's good.

    I'm not sure with whom I would've voted. Coal Miner's Daughter is obviously out of question. I've never seen The Elephant Man, I wasn't impressed by Raging Bull when I first saw it a couple of years ago but who knows and then there's Tess... I liked it when I first saw it.

    but you can't say Redford really deserved the Director win, right? :)

    (left a message in ur supporting actress post)

  3. You're right - Scorsese for that one.

  4. Tis a pity Sutherland got no love for this. They're really not fond of this guy.