A to Z Blogging Challenge: Movie Memories
Blogging about the movies that made an impact on my life
Ordinary People (1980) ranks as one of my all-time favorite films.
It's the story of Conrad (Timothy Hutton), a teen whose older brother was killed in a boating accident. Conrad blames himself for what happened to his brother and attempts suicide. The movie begins when Conrad has come home from the mental hospital and tries to readjust to family life. His mother (Mary Tyler Moore) is cold and aloof toward Conrad, subconsciously blaming him, yet in denial that anything is wrong. His father (Donald Sutherland) tries to keep the peace and hold the family together. He feels badly for Conrad and does everything in his power to support and encourage him.
Conrad's psychiatrist, Dr. Berger (Judd Hirsch), helps him overcome the guilt he feels about his brother, his mother's rejection and his father's obsessive concern.
I related to the father in this movie. Our family had a similar dynamic when our teen daughter had problems and was seeing a psychologist. I felt Hubby was too harsh with her and I was stuck in the middle, trying to keep the peace. It was a stressful time in our family.
One of the most powerful scenes is when the family is taking pictures at Christmas. The mother doesn't want a picture of her and Conrad together. It's such a sad moment because Conrad strongly senses her rejection.
In the end, the father realizes the truth about his wife and confronts her. Afterwards, he and Conrad have a conversation. In the past, the father was always trying to help Conrad by being "understanding" and "encouraging." But now the father has changed. For the first time he is honest about his feelings and tells Conrad the way things are. Ironically, that's really what Conrad needed all along.
DR. BERGER: Feelings are scary. And sometimes they're painful. And if you can't feel pain... you won't feel anything else either.