Ordinary People is an ordinary film in many ways, and more than ordinary in many, many more. It is a powerfully affecting film, one of the most so that I have had the pleasure of seeing during my odyssey through the 1001 list.
We open in an ordinary town, with ordinary goings-on, and we narrow in on an ordinary looking family going about their ordinary lives. Only when we focus in on Conrad the young son do we begin to suspect that there may be something wrong. The film goes along typically, dropping bits of information so casually you almost double-take when you realize what you just learned. This film is so well directed, and so well put together, that it is virtually seamless; only the best films are so perfectly made. Timothy Hutton does an absolutely fantastic job in his role, subtle yet effectively nuanced. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, but make no mistake, he is the real star here. The rest of the cast (Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, Judd Hirsch) are equally as excellent as Hutton; they match him in subtlety and perfectly touching performance.
Many filmophiles may have a bias against this film, as it stole the Oscars for Best Picture and Director away from Martin Scorsese and Raging Bull, but it is a beautifully done film that, most importantly, lets you form your own opinions about it. This is a damn near perfect character study, one that never lets you not be entertained by it. I wish I could say more about the impact of this film, other than to see it if ever you should get the chance, and to let it fully realize itself inside you.
Arbitrary Rating: 10/10