Cinema: Nuclear Explosion in Chicago

ORDINARY PEOPLE Directed by Robert Redford; Screenplay by Alvin Sargent

They are ordinary people, if by that one means that they enjoy conventional middle-class prosperity and adhere to traditional family values. If the problem that the Jarrett family faces—an adolescent son trying to recover from a mental breakdown signaled by a suicide attempt—is perhaps an extreme one, it is hardly unknown in bourgeois America. Nor are the tensions that have been moving for a long time beneath the surface of the Jarretts' existence—an inability to express genuine affection or even speak frankly—exactly exotic.

But let the catalogue of what is ordinary about...

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