Communication Issues in Ordinary People Film

1376 words 6 pages
Kara Vedros


The film “Ordinary People” is story about the Jarrett family, an upper middle class family living in the picture perfect suburb of Lake Forest, Illinois. The story begins shortly after the tragic and untimely death of the oldest son, Jordan (also referred to as Buck), who died in a boating accident, that his younger brother Conrad, survived. When a traumatic event such as this occurs some families unite and battle the grief and heartache together, as a unit, while others become emotionally isolated and detached from one another. This is the case for the Jarrett's. The depth of grief that each individual character is suffering is uncovered as the film progresses. This tale is
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While Calvin feels the need to discuss and talk through problems/issues with his wife, Beth prefers to leave it alone and act as if it never happened or does not exist. At one point in the film Beth and Calvin were attending a social gathering. At one point during the evening a friend of the couple asks Calvin about how Conrad is doing. Beth overhears Calvin telling the woman that Conrad had recently began seeing a therapist and quickly interrupts their conversation. Beth, who puts quite a bit of effort in maintaining a seemingly perfect public image, becomes extremely angry and embarrassed at Calvin for disclosing the information about their son's mental health issues and claims that it is “in bad taste” to discuss such matters with others. Throughout the film the severe lack of communication between Beth and Calvin creates an emotional gap that grows wider and wider as the film progresses. Towards the end of the film Calvin reaches out to Doctor Berger and although he initially states that the reasoning for his visit is to inquire about Conrad's therapeutic progress, it quickly becomes clear that he too is in need of emotional support from Doctor Berger. The meeting/session with the therapist seemed to help Calvin to somewhat evolve emotionally. The clear disconnect between Beth and Calvin became obvious to Calvin when her returned home from his meeting with Berger. In an attempt to heal an emotional


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