Movie Analysis: A Dysfunctional Family In Ordinary People

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In the film Ordinary People, there are three characters making up a very dysfunctional family. Conrad Jarrett, Beth Jarrett, and Calvin Jarrett all make up a family, that just recently went through a major loss of Beth and Calvin’s son and Conrad’s brother, Buck Jarrett. This film is all about how the Jarrett family is handling this death with themselves and each other. Through out this film all the family members are copping differently, whether it be through silence or violence, but they all seem to be having a problem managing their conflicts appropriately and safely. All three of the Jarrett’s seem to use silence a lot more often than violence but when they choose to use violence it’s short and sour. Seeing all the conflict and unhealthy …show more content…
Beth is a very cold, unpersonable and unstable parent. If anyone in the film, Ordinary People has the worst conflict management problems it’s her. Ideally the mother of any home is loving, sweet and caring, but not Beth, she is worried about herself more than the well being of her very own son or husband. Beth struggles with the truth of what happened to her son Buck. Anytime someone, no matter whom, brings up the death or any problems going on in the family, she either bends the truth or completely ignores it. One of the main events showing this “silent” behavior is shown during her last scene in the movie, when she completely pushes everything away, including her family by leaving them simply because she didn’t want to deal with what was going on. In that scene with her husband Calvin and her get in an argument, which is one of many. When her husband told her that he couldn’t love someone that couldn’t love at all she couldn’t handle it. Almost immediately she packed her stuff and left her very own family. That alone shows so much withdrawal; all she could do was ‘run’ from her problems, when really she could’ve just stopped telling herself stories. Beth constantly was pretending and telling other people that her family was perfect, but her stories were her way of trying to cope with her problems in all of the wrong ways. In order for …show more content…
Even as the man of the house Calvin was played out as more of a caring figure and a genuine person. Calvin did handle the death a lot better than the rest of the family but he was still struggling. Just like the rest of the family, he typically used the “silence” method to deal with conflict. In the whole entire film there are scenes of him avoiding his wife in confrontation. Calvin was almost always letting his wife ‘call the shots’ but in return she would tell him that Conrad was pushing him around even though it was clearly her doing all the pushing around. Calvin didn’t want conflict so for most of the film he let his wife do the talking even when he knew what she was saying and doing was wrong. Finally when Calvin tries to confront his wife on said problems he has a hard time getting his point across. In order to fix this problem is would help him to use the contrasting conflict management method, which would allow both sides to be validated instead of one person feeling pushed to the

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