I picked up Ordinary People the other day from the library. I'd never really heard of it, but the synopsis sounded interesting and the cast members were familiar. Still, I wasn't really sure what to expect from it. Even with the intriguing summary, I thought perhaps it would lean toward trite or overdone. Maybe even cheesy.
What I got, however, was the best I could have hoped for. Lately, my movie tastes have been veering away from the fantasy, action, and comedy that I once loved and moved into the realm of drama. And not just any drama, but that which is portrayed as the true, honest drama of everyday life and of... (wait for it) Ordinary People. Recent favorites have included Garden State, Now Voyager!, Wit, and 84 Charing Cross Road. These, with their mix of drama, the occasional dose of humor and a soupcon of quirkiness, have epitomized the 'movie-worth-watching' for me. They all are everyday-real and honest, but at the same time they are beautiful and tragic.
Timothy Hutton, Mary Tyler Moore, and Donald Sutherland are the people at the center of the story, a family struggling to make sense of and deal with the death of their oldest son and brother. In a world where we cover up our private struggles and present whitewashed facades to our acquaintances, friends and family even in the face of great pain, hurt and confusion, Ordinary People (and the others previously mentioned) is an anguished breath of fresh air.