Saturday, January 21, 2012
"I Don't Know Who You Are"
Ahhh, Ordinary People. What a movie. I'm not much of a chick flick kinda guy, and so called tearjerkers often leave me cold. Don't like someone trying to manipulate my emotions cheaply. However, as the scene above shows - the manipulation of our emotions are honestly earned with fantastic writing and acting. This was perhaps the best performances of both Timothy Hutton and Judd Hirsch. Hutton was a virtual newcomer, and Hirsh shocked us all because we were all so used to seeing him in the television series Taxi, hardly a dramatic role. I gotta tell ya, this is one scene that really gets to me.
This was Robert Redford's directorial debut, perhaps his best effort. The story unfolds showing the day to day life of Conrad Jarrett (Timothy Hutton) and his parents, Beth (Mary Tyler Moore) and Calvin (Donald Sutherland) - a Midwestern upper middle class family. This was also quite a step away from what we were used to seeing Mary Tyler Moore portray. I think the choice to cast her was brilliant, because we were shocked to see her as, well, frankly, a bitch. Other notable performances and appearances were M. Emmet Walsh (one of my fav character actors of all time) as Conrad's less than sympathetic swim coach, Elizabeth McGovern as Conrad's burgeoning love interest (lookin' ever so cute), and even Adam Baldwin (Jayne and Animal Mother, baybee!).
We learn Conrad has just been released from a mental institution and is seeing Dr. Berger (Judd Hirsch), a psychiatrist. We learn that Conrad tried to kill himself, and that the family is still suffering from the death of the oldest son Buck. Beth and Calvin's apparently strong marriage starts to unravel and we start to see more and more of the story. An apparently simple tale that turns out to be about anything but simple. We see the always positive, chirpy shiny everything is perfect Beth unravel, Conrad's journey into healing, and Calvin's self discovery and open eyes regarding his family. It really is a predictable tale, but the writing, pacing and acting make the sum of the movie greater than it's parts.
Another excellent scene. You can just see the porcelain doll that is Beth cracking, and the pain Calvin feels about his discovery of the truth. When Beth is packing to leave we really see her fall apart, and yet, will herself back into her delusional identity of being above it all. Another great scene is at the end, when Conrad and Calvin connect. Lots of honest, raw emotions in this flick - and none overblown, overacted or oversold. Redford definitely had a deft touch, and some quality actors to direct.
Four Oscars and two more nominations, and five Golden Globes with three additional nominations later, among other numerous awards has this film firmly entrenched as a classic, quality film. I'm sure most of us have seen the movie, and it's definitely worth watching again. If you've missed it - best rectify that situation immediately if not before, if you wanna claim you like movies!