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* TheUnfavorite: Even when he was alive, Beth gave all her love to Buck and had none left for Conrad.

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* BrokenAce: Buck was TheAce in life, but it didn't save him from the sailing accident.


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* EvilCannotComprehendGood: While not evil, Beth believes Conrad is just being manipulating his father because [[spoiler:she herself cannot love anyone, so she cannot see his grief over his brother's death and being TheUnfavorite as anything but a manipulation tactic.]]


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* FatalFlaw: Buck was TheAce and [[ParentalFavoritism TheFavorite]] in life, but never took anything seriously. His dad would often have to get on his case about chores and school because he always took things in stride. The film makes it clear that the reason he didn't survive the boating accident was [[spoiler:he treated it like a big joke until he was swept away by the surge of the waves.]]


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* IceQueen: Beth freezes up when Conrad gives her a warm hug, [[spoiler:hinting to Calvin that she's not the warm, loving person he thought she was.]]


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* LovingAShadow: [[spoiler:Calvin eventually realizes Beth was never the giving, loving person he thought she was, an is devastated to realize he doesn't really know her or love her anymore.]]


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* SkewedPriorities: Talking with Dr. Berger helps Calvin remember a detail from Buck's funeral that he hid in the back of his mind till now. He'd been so distraught he could barely function, and when he started to dress for the funeral Beth coldly told him not to wear that shirt, wearing. the blue shirt.
-->'''Calvin:''' I was a complete mess. My son was dead. What did it matter what shirt I wore?
* TheSociopath: Beth seems to be a high functioning, realistic version. She's not sadistic or cruel, but under her superficial charm (shallow affect) and socialite exterior (pathological need for stimulation in the form of socialite parties, dinners, and events) she is incapable of loving or [[LackOfEmpathy truly empathizing]] with anyone. It's implied she learned to fake superficial emotions like love and attachment from an early age (since [=WASP=] culture is pretty shallow to begin with), but is a cold ControlFreak underneath. What little love she felt for anyone she invested in [[ParentalFavoritism Buck]] (whom it's implied she only loved because he was TheAce and she saw him as an extension of herself), and when he died she basically stopped pretending.

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* PointOfView: The novel's chapters alternate between the perspectives of Conrad and Calvin.


* FreudianTrio: The Jarretts fall squarely into this trope:
** TheMcCoy: Conrad (Stricken with depression and misplaced guilt.)
** TheSpock: Beth (Represses her emotions.)
** TheKirk: Calvin (Tries to mediate between the two.)



* PowerTrio: The Jarretts fall squarely into this trope:
** TheMcCoy: Conrad (Stricken with depression and misplaced guilt.)
** TheSpock: Beth (Represses her emotions.)
** TheKirk: Calvin (Tries to mediate between the two.)


* VillainousBreakdown: OK, Beth's attitude isn't due to malice, but her coldness towards Conrad is pretty unfair. [[spoiler:When Calvin finally calls her out on this, telling her that Conrad thinks his mother hates him, Beth's composure breaks and she responds by not only shouting at Calvin, but also verbally taking her anger out on her brother who happens to be there.]]

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* VillainousBreakdown: OK, Beth's attitude isn't due to malice, but her coldness towards Conrad is pretty unfair. [[spoiler:When Calvin finally calls her out on this, telling her that Conrad thinks his mother hates him, Beth's composure breaks and she responds by not only shouting at Calvin, but also verbally taking her anger out on attacking her brother who happens calmly tries to be there.reassure her.]]


* Villainous Breakdown: OK, Beth's attitude isn't due to malice, but her coldness towards Conrad is pretty unfair. When Calvin finally calls her out on this, telling her that Conrad thinks his mother hates him, Beth's composure breaks and she responds by not only shouting at Calvin, but also verbally taking her anger out on her brother who happens to be there.

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* Villainous Breakdown: VillainousBreakdown: OK, Beth's attitude isn't due to malice, but her coldness towards Conrad is pretty unfair. When [[spoiler:When Calvin finally calls her out on this, telling her that Conrad thinks his mother hates him, Beth's composure breaks and she responds by not only shouting at Calvin, but also verbally taking her anger out on her brother who happens to be there. there.]]

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* Villainous Breakdown: OK, Beth's attitude isn't due to malice, but her coldness towards Conrad is pretty unfair. When Calvin finally calls her out on this, telling her that Conrad thinks his mother hates him, Beth's composure breaks and she responds by not only shouting at Calvin, but also verbally taking her anger out on her brother who happens to be there.

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* ArmorPiercingQuestion: [[spoiler: Dr. Berger gets a few of these: "Maybe you were stronger. Did it ever occur to you that you might have been stronger?" Then, after a {{beat}} to let Conrad have it sink in: "How long are you going to punish yourself? When are you going to quit?"]]


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A 1976 novel by Judith Guest, ''Ordinary People'' was brought to the screen in 1980 by Creator/RobertRedford as his directorial debut. The film stars Creator/DonaldSutherland, Creator/MaryTylerMoore, and Timothy Hutton.

The eponymous Ordinary People are the Jarrett family of Lake Forest, Illinois: father Calvin (Sutherland), mother Beth (Moore), and their younger son Conrad (Hutton). Prior to the events of the story the elder son, Buck, [[PosthumousCharacter was taken out of the picture in a sailing accident]], and Conrad, who was with Buck when he died, was committed to a psychiatric hospital for four months after he attempted suicide out of grief. Now he's been released, and we see the ways in which Buck's death has affected the family. It's not pretty in the least bit. Also in the picture is Dr. Berger (Judd Hirsch), a psychiatrist who works to coax Conrad out of the emotional shell he's constructed while Calvin and Beth deal with their own issues.

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A 1976 novel by Judith Guest, ''Ordinary People'' was brought to the screen in 1980 by Creator/RobertRedford as in his directorial debut. The film stars Creator/DonaldSutherland, Creator/MaryTylerMoore, and Timothy Hutton.

The eponymous Ordinary People are the Jarrett family of Lake Forest, Illinois: father Calvin (Sutherland), mother Beth (Moore), and their younger son Conrad (Hutton). Prior to the events of the story the elder son, Buck, [[PosthumousCharacter was taken out of the picture in a sailing accident]], and Conrad, who was with Buck when he died, was committed to a psychiatric hospital for four months after he attempted suicide out of grief. grief.

Now he's been released, and we see the ways in which Buck's death has affected the family. It's not pretty in the least bit. Also in the picture is Dr. Berger (Judd Hirsch), a psychiatrist who works to coax Conrad out of the emotional shell he's constructed while Calvin and Beth deal with their own issues.



* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler:Beth leaves her family, not knowing if she'll ever again be capable of love. However, father and son are finally able to connect with each other.]]

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* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler:Beth leaves her family, not knowing if she'll ever again be capable of love. However, father Calvin and son are Conrad finally able to connect with each other.]]

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* LackOfEmpathy: Beth can't see that any of Conrad's pain is genuine, only he that he's trying to manipulate his parents somehow.


'''Calvin''': (''after a pause'') We would have been all right, if there hadn't been any mess. But you can't handle mess. You need everything neat and easy. I don't know, maybe you can't love anybody. It was so much Buck. When Buck died, it was as if you buried all your love with him, and I don't understand that, I just don't know, I don't... maybe it wasn't even Buck; maybe it was just you. Maybe, finally, it was the best of ''you'' that you buried. But, whatever it was... I don't know who you are. And I don't know what we've been playing at. So I was crying. Because I don't know if I love you anymore. And I don't know what I'm going to do without that.

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'''Calvin''': (''after a pause'') We would have been all right, alright, if there hadn't been any mess. But you can't handle mess. You need everything neat and easy. I don't know, maybe you can't love anybody. It was so much Buck. When Buck died, it was as if you buried all your love with him, and I don't understand that, I just don't know, I don't... maybe it wasn't even Buck; maybe it was just you. Maybe, finally, it was the best of ''you'' that you buried. But, whatever it was... I don't know who you are. And I don't know what we've been playing at. So I was crying. Because I don't know if I love you anymore. And I don't know what I'm going to do without that.


'''Calvin''': (''after a pause'') We would have been alright, if there hadn't been any mess. But you can't handle mess. You need everything neat and easy. I don't know, maybe you can't love anybody. It was so much Buck. When Buck died, it was as if you buried all your love with him, and I don't understand that, I just don't know, I don't... maybe it wasn't even Buck; maybe it was just you. Maybe, finally, it was the best of ''you'' that you buried. But, whatever it was... I don't know who you are. And I don't know what we've been playing at. So I was crying. Because I don't know if I love you anymore. And I don't know what I'm going to do without that.

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'''Calvin''': (''after a pause'') We would have been alright, all right, if there hadn't been any mess. But you can't handle mess. You need everything neat and easy. I don't know, maybe you can't love anybody. It was so much Buck. When Buck died, it was as if you buried all your love with him, and I don't understand that, I just don't know, I don't... maybe it wasn't even Buck; maybe it was just you. Maybe, finally, it was the best of ''you'' that you buried. But, whatever it was... I don't know who you are. And I don't know what we've been playing at. So I was crying. Because I don't know if I love you anymore. And I don't know what I'm going to do without that.


* ShoutOut: We learn that Conrad is reading ''Literature/JudeTheObscure'' in English class, and Karen's drama club is performing ''A Thousand Clowns''.

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* ShoutOut: We learn that Conrad is reading ''Literature/JudeTheObscure'' in English class, and Karen's drama club is performing ''A Thousand Clowns''.''Theatre/AThousandClowns''.


-->--'''{{Tagline}} of the book'''

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-->--'''{{Tagline}} of the book'''
novel'''


'''Calvin''': You are beautiful. And you are unpredictable. But you're so cautious. You're ''determined'', Beth; but you know something? You're not strong. And I don't know if you're really giving. Tell me something: Do you love me? You ''really'' love me?\\

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'''Calvin''': You are beautiful. And you are unpredictable. But you're so cautious. You're ''determined'', Beth; but you know something? You're not strong. And I don't know if you're really giving. Tell me something: Do you love me? You Do you ''really'' love me?\\

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