Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Written Review: Ordinary People

Ordinary People is one of the better character pieces I’ve seen in a long time. Robert Redford shows his particular brand of direction, which I believe he later perfected with A River Runs Through It. The acting in this film is absolutely sublime. From Mary Tyler Moore’s Oscar nominated performance to Timothy Hutton’s absolutely stunning portrayal of Conrad all the acting in this film is phenomenal.
One of the things I enjoyed about most about Ordinary People are the subdued visuals. Very often a director, when doing a piece of suburban life, tries to making everything look picture perfect, like something out of a Tide commercial, so that it is easier to see the corruption that lies beneath this “perfect” exterior. However, Redford doesn’t use such simple tactics. He shows a real family living a real life. Most people would consider the family to be perfectly normal which makes their problems all the more effective. We see ourselves in this family, we don’t judge them (unless you’re Greg Beck who seems to hate this movie simply because Raging Bull lost to it) and we want to see how everything comes out in the end.
Something else worth mentioning is Timothy Hutton in his role as Conrad. I have seen many teenage performances before. Never before have I seen a role played with such layered complexity and genuine emotion as Hutton. His acting in this film is nothing short of stunning and he easily deserved the Academy Award he got for the role.
So, in the end Ordinary People is an amazingly crafted film. From the well conceived visuals to the stunning performance by Hutton this film is amazing. Redford would make many great films after Ordinary People but I believe this is far and away one of his absolute best.

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