Ordinary People
Ordinary People (1980)

Robert Redford's directorial debut ended up the 1980 Oscar winner for Best Picture. It is a simple but painfully emotional story of the disintegration of a "perfect" family. Teenager Conrad (Timothy Hutton) lives under a cloud… More

Directed By:
Rated: R
Running Time:
Genre: Drama
Release Date: August 14, 2001
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Critic Score: 92% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: Though shot through with bitterness and sorrow, Robert Redford's directorial debut is absorbing and well-acted.

Kathleen Carroll
New York Daily News

With the skill of a practiced surgeon, Redford gradually peels away the protective layers of his characters, exposing their flaws, their darkest fears and ultimately, their innermost feelings.

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Todd McCarthy

A powerfully intimate domestic drama.

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David Sterritt
Christian Science Monitor

Under Redford's direction, even the smallest scenes practically leap off the screen.

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James Berardinelli

What Redford accomplishes is to provide an excellent portrait of how well families can hide their inner turmoil from the prying eyes of outsiders.

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Dave Kehr
Chicago Reader

The film looks austere and serious, rather as if it had been shot inside a Frigidaire, and the oppressiveness of the images tends to strangle laughter, even at the most absurd excesses of Alvin Sargent's script.

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Sue Heal
Radio Times

This is still an auspicious directorial debut that stands as one of the first films to deal intelligently with the role of therapy.

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Richard Schickel
TIME Magazine

An austere and delicate examination of the ways in which a likable family falters under pressure and struggles, with ambiguous results, to renew itself.

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Don Macpherson
Time Out

An actors' movie and an advert for therapy, extremely bitter, but handsomely directed in its elegant pretentiousness.

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People Magazine

It is an extraordinary achievement in an unforgettable film.

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More reviews for Ordinary People

Flixster Audience Score: 88% Flixster User Reviews
Matthew Slaven
The greatest discoveries are internal ones, and this intelligent script portrays the inner adventures of a young man named Conrad and the people important to… More
Jameson Worley
Excellent! I haven't seen Raging Bull yet, but I think this film may have deserved Best Picture. I had never heard anything about this film other than that… More
Mike S
Deeply involving family drama, wealthy in emotion, honesty and vigor. Every step of the way it successfully grabs your attention, yet never once going too far… More
Jennifer Xu
Watching this was like trying to go to sleep but not being able to. You're sort of tired but you're still up, but the experience is pure agony.
Chris Weber
I found this portrait of a family crumbling apart in the wake of tragedy to be meerely really good instead of excellent or classic. Maybe I've just seen… More
familiar stranger
So over-dramatic and full of cliches that it got on my nerves. Nah, this ain't ordinary unless we're to redefine 'ordinary'.