Ordinary People
Personal Lessons and Insights

April 11, 2003


Brief Plot Summary

Members of a family struggle with the emotional discord after the accidental death of their eldest son.


Interesting Character

Conrad Jarret (Tim Hutton) grew up to the point of eventually even helping his father Calvin (Donald Sutherland) with the emotional distress that had essentially destroyed their family. The entire movie followed his quest to deal with his own personal conflicts over his brother's death. Through his own determination to recover his life he sought aid, and surprised even himself by discovering the true nature of the conflict that had been spiraling out of control and ruining all aspects of his life.


Interesting Scene

When the parents, Beth and Calvin, went away for a brief vacation to play golf with relatives in Houston, they brought  their family problems with them. Beth's true nature and feelings, whether from before or after Buck's tragic death, surfaced for all to see. It was then that Calvin came to realize that active attention was required as the family was not going to just simply 'get over' the loss with time.


Something this film made me think about.

The sheer difficulty of coping with the unexpected death of a young family member. Both parents and siblings experience emotions not associated with anticipated death of an elderly relative. Fears and worries, both rational and irrational, appear and must be handled appropriately or they can take over. Coping skills are rarely available to the person in the trauma, so new ones must be developed for the extraordinary circumstance. While an emotional roller-coaster ride can be expected, it still must be dealt with by each party associated with the loss.

Original Web Upload April 2003
Last Update: April 19, 2003