Mental Illness In Robert Redford's Ordinary People

805 Words 4 Pages
In 1980, Robert Redford released his dramatic coming of age film that was nominated for 6 Academy Awards won four, including best picture and best director. Ordinary People is about a family dealing with the death of their son/brother. The film offers many perspectives on metal illnesses and how people deal with them and at the same time explores how our culture views mental illness. The film revolves around Conrad, who is the son of Beth and Calvin. Conrad’s brother died in a boating accident. Conrad, blaming himself, tries to commit suicide and is put in the hospital. Upon his release, his father encourages him to see a doctor and eventually Conrad is on the road to overcome him depression. At the same time, Beth and Calvin have to deal with the death of their first-born son and they both do it different ways. Calvin realizes he has a problem and takes care of it himself while …show more content…
During this time period, mental illness was still looked down upon. In 1970’s President Nixon impounded funds for the National Institute of Mental Health. The problem of mental illness was being brought to light as a result of the lack of services for mentally ill people. The lack of services made mental illness more noticeable and left many unstable people homeless, which got the attention of the media. Although media coverage was present, people weren’t concerned with mental illness and many families treated it as a private matter and didn’t share if they or a loved one were suffering. For example, when a drunken Calvin tells his neighbor that his son is seeing a psychiatrist. Although he tells her this, he only did so because he was drunk and tried to say that his son was completely fine, it was just a way to blow off steam. When Beth overhears Calvin telling the neighbor about Conrad, she pulls him away and gets very upset for sharing this “private matter” with

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