Ordinary People

In the world of cinema, certain movies stand out as timeless classics that continue to captivate audiences decades after their release. "Ordinary People", a 1980 drama film directed by Robert Redford, is one such movie. The film, which won four Academy Awards including Best Picture, is a poignant exploration of family dynamics, grief, and the struggle to move forward after a devastating loss.

At its heart, "Ordinary People" is a story about the Jarretts, a seemingly ordinary upper-middle-class family in suburban Chicago. After the death of their eldest son Buck in a boating accident, the family struggles to cope with their grief and the aftermath of the tragedy. The film delves into the complex relationships between the family members, particularly Conrad, the surviving son who is struggling with guilt and depression, and his mother Beth, who is unable to come to terms with the loss of her favorite child.

Through its powerful performances, nuanced storytelling, and emotional depth, "Ordinary People" has become a cultural touchstone for many who have experienced loss or struggled with mental health. The film's themes of family, grief, and healing continue to resonate with audiences today, making it a timeless classic that has stood the test of time.

In this blog post, we will explore the impact and legacy of "Ordinary People", examining its themes, characters, and filmmaking techniques. We will analyze how the film tackles difficult subjects such as mental health and suicide, and how it portrays the complexities of family relationships. We will also delve into the film's critical and commercial success, and the ways in which it has influenced other filmmakers and storytellers.

So, why has "Ordinary People" endured as a classic for over 40 years? What makes it such a powerful and resonant film? And how has it shaped our understanding of grief, mental health, and family dynamics in popular culture? Join us as we explore these questions and more in our deep dive into this seminal work of cinema.


I'm sure you will also enjoy the following films:

TitleRelease YearDirectorIMDB Rating
The Descendants2011Alexander Payne7.3
The Perks of Being a Wallflower2012Stephen Chbosky8.0
The Squid and the Whale2005Noah Baumbach7.3
The Spectacular Now2013James Ponsoldt7.1
Manchester by the Sea2016Kenneth Lonergan7.8

"The Descendants" is a 2011 movie directed by Alexander Payne, starring George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, and Amara Miller. The movie tells the story of a wealthy landowner, Matt King (Clooney), who lives in Hawaii with his wife, who is in a coma after a tragic accident. Matt is also dealing with the news that his wife was having an affair before the accident, and he is left to raise his two daughters, Alexandra (Woodley) and Scottie (Miller), on his own.

Impressions

Overall, I thought "The Descendants" was a well-made movie that tackled some heavy themes. The movie has a great cast, with George Clooney giving a particularly strong performance as Matt. The movie is visually stunning, with some beautiful shots of Hawaii that really capture the essence of the place.

Strong Points

One of the strongest points of the movie is its exploration of grief and loss. Matt is dealing with a lot of emotions throughout the movie, and the way that he navigates them is both realistic and relatable. The movie also does a great job of exploring the complicated relationships between family members, particularly between Matt and his daughters.

Weak Points

One of the weaker points of the movie is that it can feel a bit slow at times. While the pacing works well for the movie overall, there are some scenes that drag on a bit longer than necessary. Additionally, some of the characters feel a bit underdeveloped, particularly Alexandra's friend Sid (Nick Krause), who comes across as a bit one-dimensional.

Cast

The cast of "The Descendants" is excellent, with George Clooney giving a particularly strong performance as Matt. Shailene Woodley also stands out as Alexandra, bringing a lot of emotional depth to the character. Amara Miller is also great as Scottie, Matt's younger daughter.

What Makes This Movie Special

What makes "The Descendants" special is its ability to tackle some heavy themes while still remaining relatable and accessible. The movie is a great exploration of grief and loss, but it's also a movie about family and the complicated relationships that exist within it. The movie is visually stunning, and the performances are all top-notch.

Personal Opinion

As someone who loves movies that explore complex emotions and relationships, I really enjoyed "The Descendants." While it can feel a bit slow at times, I think the movie does an excellent job of exploring the themes it sets out to explore. The cast is excellent, and the movie is visually stunning. Overall, I would definitely recommend "The Descendants" to anyone who enjoys thoughtful, character-driven movies.


The Perks of Being a Wallflower: A Heartfelt Coming-of-Age Story

If you're looking for a coming-of-age movie that will tug at your heartstrings and make you feel all the feelings, then look no further than "The Perks of Being a Wallflower." This 2012 release, based on the novel of the same name by Stephen Chbosky, is a true gem of a movie that explores the ups and downs of adolescence in a way that feels authentic, relatable, and deeply emotional.

Plot Summary

The movie follows the story of Charlie (Logan Lerman), a high school freshman who is struggling to find his place in the world after the traumatic loss of his best friend. Charlie is introverted, socially awkward, and prone to anxiety attacks, which makes it difficult for him to connect with his peers. However, things begin to change when he meets Sam (Emma Watson) and her stepbrother Patrick (Ezra Miller), two seniors who take him under their wing and introduce him to a world of friendship, love, and self-discovery.

Strong Points

One of the strongest points of this movie is its cast. Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, and Ezra Miller all give powerful performances that bring their characters to life in a way that feels honest and nuanced. Lerman, in particular, shines as Charlie, conveying the character's inner turmoil and vulnerability with subtlety and grace. The chemistry between the three leads is also undeniable, making their friendship feel genuine and heartfelt.

Another strong point of the movie is its direction and cinematography. Stephen Chbosky, who not only wrote the novel but also directed the movie adaptation, brings a keen sense of storytelling and visual flair to the film. The movie is filled with memorable scenes that are shot with sensitivity and artistry, from the joyous moments of the characters driving through a tunnel to the heartbreaking scenes of Charlie grappling with his trauma.

Weak Points

While the movie is a beautiful exploration of adolescence and the struggles of growing up, it does have some weak points. Some viewers may find the pacing slow, as the movie takes its time to delve into the characters' inner lives and emotions. Additionally, the movie touches on some heavy themes, such as mental illness, abuse, and trauma, which may be triggering for some viewers.

Personal Opinion

As a movie expert, I have to say that "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" is a movie that truly resonates with me on a personal level. I remember watching it for the first time and feeling like it spoke directly to my own experiences of growing up and navigating the complexities of adolescence. The movie captures the joys, sorrows, and uncertainties of youth in a way that feels both universal and deeply personal.

Overall, "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" is a movie that I would highly recommend to anyone who loves coming-of-age stories, heartfelt performances, and beautiful cinematography. It's a movie that will make you laugh, cry, and feel all the feels, and it's a true testament to the power of storytelling and the human spirit.


The Squid and the Whale - A Movie Review

If you're into indie films, you might have already heard of The Squid and the Whale. It's a 2005 movie that's directed and written by Noah Baumbach. It stars Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney, Jesse Eisenberg, and Owen Kline. This film received critical acclaim for its honest portrayal of a family going through a divorce and the effects it has on the children.

Plot Summary

The Squid and the Whale is set in Brooklyn in the 1980s. The story is about a family of four, the Berkman family. Bernard (Jeff Daniels) is a self-absorbed writer who's struggling to find success, while his wife Joan (Laura Linney) is a successful author who's about to leave him. Together, they have two sons, Walt (Jesse Eisenberg) and Frank (Owen Kline). The movie starts with Joan telling her children that she's leaving their father. From there, the movie explores how the family copes with the divorce and how it affects each of them.

Strong Points

One of the strongest points of this movie is the performances of the actors. Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney both deliver powerful performances as the parents who are going through a divorce. Jesse Eisenberg and Owen Kline, who play their sons, also give great performances. Another strong point is the writing. Noah Baumbach's script is realistic and honest, and it doesn't shy away from showing the flaws of the characters.

Weak Points

One of the weak points of The Squid and the Whale is that it can be a bit too bleak at times. The movie doesn't offer much hope for the characters or their situation. Additionally, some viewers might find it hard to relate to the characters, as they're all flawed and can be unlikeable at times.

What Makes This Movie Special

What makes The Squid and the Whale special is its honest portrayal of a family going through a divorce. The movie doesn't hold back in showing the raw emotions that come with such a situation. It also doesn't try to offer any easy solutions or happy endings. The Squid and the Whale is a movie that's grounded in reality, and that's what makes it special.

Cast

The cast of this movie is excellent. Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney, Jesse Eisenberg, and Owen Kline all give great performances. They bring the characters to life in a way that makes them feel real and relatable.

Personal Opinion

As a movie expert, I can say that The Squid and the Whale is a well-made movie. Noah Baumbach's direction and writing are both top-notch, and the performances of the actors are excellent. However, it's not a movie that everyone will enjoy. It's a bleak movie that doesn't offer much hope, and the characters can be unlikeable at times. But if you're looking for a movie that's grounded in reality and explores the complexities of a family going through a divorce, then The Squid and the Whale is definitely worth watching.


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"The Spectacular Now" Movie Review

If you're looking for a coming-of-age story that's both heartfelt and realistic, then "The Spectacular Now" is definitely worth a watch. Directed by James Ponsoldt and released in 2013, this movie is based on the novel of the same name by Tim Tharp.

Plot Summary

The story follows the life of Sutter Keely (played by Miles Teller), a high school senior who loves living in the moment and drinking himself into oblivion. One day, he meets Aimee Finicky (played by Shailene Woodley), a shy and introverted girl who's never really experienced life beyond her textbooks.

Despite their differences, Sutter and Aimee start dating and help each other navigate through the ups and downs of life. However, as their relationship deepens, Sutter's own personal demons start to catch up with him, threatening to destroy everything he's built with Aimee.

Impressions

One of the strongest points of this movie is the acting. Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley both deliver incredible performances, bringing their characters to life in a way that's both relatable and honest. They have great chemistry on screen, making their relationship feel genuine and heartfelt.

The cinematography is also worth noting, as it beautifully captures the small town atmosphere of the story. The scenes are shot in a way that feels intimate and personal, drawing the viewer into the lives of the characters.

On the other hand, the pacing of the movie can feel slow at times, and some of the supporting characters could have been fleshed out more. Additionally, while the story is emotional and engaging, it may not be everyone's cup of tea.

Final Thoughts

Overall, "The Spectacular Now" is a beautifully crafted movie that tackles the complexities of adolescence with grace and sensitivity. It's a film that will resonate with anyone who's ever felt lost or uncertain about their future, and it's a great reminder that even the most broken people can find happiness and redemption. If you're in the mood for a heartfelt and emotionally honest movie, then "The Spectacular Now" is definitely worth a watch.


I recently had the opportunity to watch "Manchester by the Sea," the 2016 release that received critical acclaim and was nominated for several awards. As a movie enthusiast, I was excited to see what all the hype was about and was not disappointed.

Plot Summary

The movie tells the story of Lee Chandler, a janitor who receives news of his brother's death and has to return to his hometown of Manchester-by-the-Sea to take care of his teenage nephew. We learn that Lee has a tragic past, which has left him emotionally scarred and unwilling to connect with anyone. As he navigates his new role as a guardian, he is forced to confront his past and the reasons for his estrangement from his ex-wife Randi.

Strong Points

The strongest point of the movie is the acting. Casey Affleck delivers a powerful performance as Lee Chandler, portraying his emotional turmoil with subtlety and nuance. The supporting cast is equally impressive, with Lucas Hedges shining as the teenage nephew and Michelle Williams bringing depth to her limited screen time as Randi.

The cinematography is another strong point of the movie. The picturesque coastal town of Manchester-by-the-Sea is captured beautifully, with the natural beauty of the surroundings providing a stark contrast to the emotional turmoil of the characters.

Weak Points

The slow pacing of the movie may turn off some viewers, as it takes its time to delve into the characters' emotions and past traumas. Additionally, some may find the lack of closure regarding Lee's past and his relationship with Randi frustrating.

Personal Opinion

Overall, I would highly recommend "Manchester by the Sea" to anyone who appreciates character-driven dramas. The movie is a masterful exploration of grief, trauma, and the complexities of human relationships. The acting and cinematography are top-notch, and the movie will leave you with a sense of melancholy and introspection. It's a movie that will stay with you long after the credits roll.