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Depression and Grief in the “Ordinary People” Film Essay


What I Like About the Film “Ordinary People”

I like how realistic the plot of the film is. The Jarrets represent a good portrayal of families that seem perfect but cannot remain stable after a tragedy, in their case, the death of their older son. I think that the film raises awareness of mental health issues as Conrad’s conditions are presented in detail, which allows the viewer to emphasize with the character. The film shows that it is possible to overcome terrible circumstances.

What I Dislike About the Film “Ordinary People”

I think that the movie is hard to watch at the beginning because of its atmosphere. It is clear that the family is unhappy and deeply affected by their son’s death. The film shows the crude reality of a person that lives with a mental disorder, including nightmares, fear, lack of support of friends and family, and loneliness. However, the situation changes as Conrad’s story develops and his family reconciles with their loss.

Conrad’s Diagnosis

Depression: decrease of appetite, recurrent suicidal thoughts, diminished interest, feeling of guilt, diminished ability to concentrate (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).

Post-traumatic stress disorder: recurrent memories and traumatic nightmares, trauma-related thoughts, diminished interest in activities, estrangement from others, sleep disturbance, outbursts of anger (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).

Mother’s Diagnosis

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder: unreasonably high and inflexible internal standards of behavior, the continuance of the same behavior and inability to adapt to new conditions, preoccupation with order and details (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).

Narcissistic personality disorder: impaired ability to recognize the feelings and needs of others (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).

Examples of Mental Illnesses Stigma

The film represents the stigma related to psychiatric treatment. For instance, Conrad becomes an outcast because people at his school know that he had been in the hospital for mental illness and had tried to commit suicide. His former friends call him crazy because of it, and his mother is concerned about their neighbors’ opinion on his conditions. Even though Conrad’s father tries to be supportive, he often perceives his son as a sick child and becomes over-protective.

The Shift in Conrad’s “Sickness”

At the beginning of the film, Conrad is still not recovered after his brother’s death. His life is full of fear, he has nightmares, cannot eat, his self-esteem is low. He does not have many friends, which has an adverse impact to his mental health. However, with the help of therapy and as his personal relationships with Jeannine and his father develop, Conrad stops showing acute symptoms of mental disturbances. At the end of the film, he is healed and ready to forgive his mother and stop blaming himself.

Conrad’s Lethality Risk Analysis

At the beginning of the film, Conrad’s lethality risk is higher than at the end of it. It can be proven by the fact that his mental disorders are very distinct at the start. He experiences nightmares, is isolated from his friends, his mother is not supportive of him, and he believes that she does not love him. However, Conrad’s suicide risks lessen as his behaviors and environment around him change. For example, his relationships with Jeannine are the highlight of his life. Moreover, when his mother leaves the family, the relationship between Conrad and his father improve. The major behavioral changes are notable too, as the young man stops feeling guilty and gains control over his life.

Relationship Between Conrad and His Therapist

I believe that the relationship between Conrad and his therapist, Dr. Berger, are the example of a good patient/provider partnership. Berger’s consultations make Conrad feel relieved; he shows his support while acknowledging the significance of the problems the young man faces. In the film, Conrad and his therapist become friends, but it is necessary to point out that they do not cross the doctor-patient line. I believe that Dr. Berger is a skilled professional as he is not judgmental and convinces the young man to stop blaming himself.

Reference

American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing.

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IvyPanda. (2021, January 6). Depression and Grief in the "Ordinary People" Film. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/depression-and-grief-in-the-ordinary-people-film/

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"Depression and Grief in the "Ordinary People" Film." IvyPanda, 6 Jan. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/depression-and-grief-in-the-ordinary-people-film/.

1. IvyPanda. "Depression and Grief in the "Ordinary People" Film." January 6, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/depression-and-grief-in-the-ordinary-people-film/.


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IvyPanda. "Depression and Grief in the "Ordinary People" Film." January 6, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/depression-and-grief-in-the-ordinary-people-film/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Depression and Grief in the "Ordinary People" Film." January 6, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/depression-and-grief-in-the-ordinary-people-film/.

References

IvyPanda. (2021) 'Depression and Grief in the "Ordinary People" Film'. 6 January.

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