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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Extraordinary People

These two people can really act.

I know I'm about 30 years late to the party on this one, but I just watched Ordinary People for the first time. I loved it! Having known it only as That Movie That Should Never Have Beaten Raging Bull To The Best Picture Oscar, I was really impressed by the subtlety and intricacy of the plotting, writing and acting. Unlike the American 'family dramas' that my generation grew up watching, there was no manufactured drama, no sentimentality, and definitely no pat happy ending. It was a painful but realistic portrait of a family being torn apart by an inability to communicate in the wake of two terrible (connected) events. Mary Tyler Moore was a revelation in a very unsympathetic role; and I now finally understand what all the fuss was about where Timothy Hutton was concerned. What a great performance, especially for a debut! It's a tragedy that he didn't make a better movie career for himself - just think of the performances he could have given.

Of course the down-side of all this is that it does make me a bit depressed, in a they-don't-make-them-like-this-anymore type way. It's a testament to the fact that getting major writers, directors and actors together can produce an interesting film that actually says something. When was the last time you saw a new Hollywood movie like that?...

Not this one, that's for sure...

Anyway, I'm so glad I finally got around to watching Ordinary People - on the plus side, isn't it great when you experience for the first time a film; or book; or any piece of art, that has been around for a long time - and you're moved by it? It makes me feel like there is so much more out there to discover.

"The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - that you'd thought special, particular to you. And here it is, set down by someone else, a person you've never met, maybe even someone long dead. And it's as if a hand has come out, and taken yours."
Alan Bennett, 'The History Boys'

1 comment:

  1. I love your last paragraph and agree wholeheartedly. It's been a little while since I was so moved by a film, and I'd been meaning to watch this one for years but only finally did today. It's so good to know that there are still movies out there that can really get to you and make you REALLY think; I can't wait to find more of them! Though I might watch this one another time before I move on.