Today I was reminded of one of my favorite films, Ordinary People. It won 4 Oscars back in 1980. Best Picture, Best Director (Robert Redford), Best Supporting Actor (Timothy Hutton) and Best Screenplay. And yet it’s one of those films many people have not seen. I used to wonder why. and today I understand. It’s simple really and I’m surprised I never thought of it before. I grew up surrounded by many who put on the Cleaver family front. It was safe. comfortable. And this film is anything but. This film is raw and painful. beautiful and sad. honest and real. If you are someone who chooses to live behind the Cleaver fence or normal facade…this is a movie that forces you to remove walls and think. feel. empathize. go to “unsafe” places.
First, watch the trailer:
I won’t get into the plot details in case you have not seen this although the trailer gives you a pretty good idea. Mary Tyler Moore plays Beth Jarrett, Donald Sutherland plays her husband, Calvin, Timothy Hutton plays their son, Conrad and Judd Hirsch plays Conrad’s therapist. Thinking of this film today, I have decided to let go of a few things I need to let go of. Some people in this world are just afraid. They do not know how to get close and talk about things other than the weather, gossip, friends and work. They are afraid because they do not understand. I have to, I must, accept this fact. Depression is a misunderstood illness. The stigma is still great. But I can’t make someone, even if it’s someone close to my heart, understand. The fear of the unknown is scary and some people would rather remain in the present, and keep things nice and tidy. Therefore they cannot talk about the past and certainly not anything that will break down the walls they have built. Those walls are there for a reason. I won’t lie, it is frustrating and saddening to feel so misunderstood. However, today, I have decided to love those who are incapable of understanding me or unable to talk about my depression, my darkness…and I will love them with all of my heart. I will forgive them. because today something happened that proved to me these very people I want understanding from are only capable of showing it in their own way. It may be ordinary and simple but it is better than nothing at all. and for that, I will be forever grateful.
Some trivia from the film:
-The first draft took a year and a half to write, and the second took another year, as it was very difficult to adapt a novel which featured very heavy dialogue with almost no descriptions of characters or settings.
-Robert Redford decided to do the film because the story’s family reminded him of his own in the way it talked around issues.
and I’ll part with a beautiful piece of music in the film: