February 2, 2010
Ordinary people, a drama made in 1980, is a story of an upper middle class family in the Chicago
area dealing with the recent accidental death of their son and the suicide attempt of their youngest.
Conrad, the youngest son, starts the movie with his recent return from a mental hospital where he was
located after slitting his wrists in a suicide attempt. His life seems ordinary, but everyone around him acts
as if he was fragile. He begins to seek help through a psychologist, where at first he is apprehensive and
does not want to be involved, but later after a few breakthroughs, becomes more comfortable seeking
help. He develops a relationship with a rather understanding girl Jeannine and his life begins to get a
sense of normalcy. This is soon shattered by the sudden death of one of his friends who was with him in
the hospital. After working with the psychologist, Conrad learns to cope with h is brothers death, and
learns not to blame himself for the accident.
As Conrad fights his depression, his father seems to always be at his side, wanting him to seek
help, and always thinking of his well being. The mother, an upper class woman, shows no emotion for her
son’s condition. She cuts herself off from her family which eventually leads to the end of her marriage.
The movie ends with the father questioning his love for his cold hearted wife, and starting a new life with
his son Conrad and him alone.
Out of all of the family members, I think that the mother shows the most abnormal behavior. She
has recently lost a son, and almost lost a second son, yet nearly shows no emotion. She doesn’t seem to
care that her youngest is horribly depressed and nearly killed himself in a failed suicide attempt. At one of
the earlier scenes of the movie, she had made breakfast for the family. Conrad, due to his depression,
had a small appetite. Instead of encouraging him to eat to regain his strength like the worried father does,
she quickly shoves his breakfast down the garbage disposal without a second thought. This lack of caring
Later on in the movie, Beth, the mother, and Calvin, the father, attend a friend’s party where
everyone they are acquainted with is present. Their friends, being normal concerned people, ask Calvin