Ordinary People


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Time Out says

Any movie starring the all-American dream mum Mary Tyler Moore as a neurotic, domineering mother, papering over the cracks as her husband and son go to pieces, should get ten out of ten. Unfortunately, Robert Redford's super-tasteful movie (from the novel by Judith Guest) uses her pixie grin as its only effective irony. For the rest, it's a scrupulously observed affluent American psychodrama that wishes it was Chekhov: tinged with autumn leaves, and following the cocktail party, the golfing holiday, the school swimming race, it peels away the happy smile of these 'ordinary people', plunged into misery after the death of one son and the breakdown of another. An actors' movie and an advert for therapy, extremely bitter, but handsomely directed in its elegant pretentiousness, it leaves you the impression that Redford is, despite it all, as cuddly as a teddy-bear. DMacp.


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Release details

UK release:



124 mins

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Timothy Hutton's performance is devastating and beautiful. The film still holds up, 30 years later.