Ordinary People: The Hidden Effects of Grief on the Person

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Ordinary People by Robert Redford is an emotional rollercoaster of a film. This drama follows a grief-stricken family trying to live a normal life after the oldest son, Buck, dies in a boating accident. The main focus is on the younger brother, Conrad, who witnessed his brother’s death and now feels “survivors’ guilt” Conrad falls into a deep depression which leads him to try and take his own life. We don’t see any of this happen except as flashbacks later in the movie. The movie starts a month after Conrad returns from the mental hospital. Conrad, with the encouragement of his father, begins to see a psychiatrist to try and help him move on and integrate back into normal life. While Conrad confronts his grief, his parents at first seem to have more of a handle on their own response to the tragedy. Even though they appear better off, we find out looks can be deceiving. This is a deftly told story that really helps shed light on the more hidden effects of grief.

One reason why Ordinary People is successful is because of the lack of a musical soundtrack. Music is normally a key component in movies. It helps convey the emotions and sets the tone for the scenes. The subject matter and music should correlate to each other so that it has the desired effect on the audience. Generally, a soundtrack is used to keep the viewers interest. However, the purposeful absence of music in this film results in an unbreaking sense of tension. The tension hits its all-time peak whenever Conrad and his mother are interacting with each other. In this instance, with there not being music, the audience’s attention is completely focused on the awkward discomfort and nightmarish anguish of the story. That is not an easy feat to accomplish. This is one of the many reasons Ordinary People is a successful film.

This movie invoked a lot of emotions from me. I have a special place in my heart for Conrad because I know what its like to feel trapped in a state of perpetual hopelessness. In high school I had a bad case of depression. Though we both suffered from depression, their causes differ. His was brought on by a traumatic event and was serious enough for hospitalization, whereas mine had no apparent rhyme or reason to it. I knew I would never actually hurt myself or take my own life. I knew I had people who loved and cared about me. I knew that the feelings would pass eventually, even if it would take a while. That’s why I really feel for Conrad because he was worse off than me. No one should have to feel that way in their own mind. I’m glad to see that he was doing better at the end of the film. It made me remember back when I too got better. At this point in my life I’m really happy and content with how everything is going. I still have my bad days but who doesn’t? If I hadn’t have gone through those rough few years, then I don’t think I would be the person I am today. I really love myself right here and right now. I like to think Conrad got to the same place I did and stayed that way.

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Ordinary People: The Hidden Effects of Grief on the Person. (2021, February 10). WritingBros. Retrieved June 18, 2024, from https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/ordinary-people-the-hidden-effects-of-grief-on-the-person/
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Ordinary People: The Hidden Effects of Grief on the Person. [online]. Available at: <https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/ordinary-people-the-hidden-effects-of-grief-on-the-person/> [Accessed 18 Jun. 2024].
Ordinary People: The Hidden Effects of Grief on the Person [Internet]. WritingBros. 2021 Feb 10 [cited 2024 Jun 18]. Available from: https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/ordinary-people-the-hidden-effects-of-grief-on-the-person/
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